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This Tuesday our country celebrates the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The last sentence of that document, right before the signatures of our Founding Fathers, contains an important phrase: “with firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence.”

“With firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence”: Someone could say, “That doesn’t sound like a declaration of independence; it sounds like a declaration of dependence.” And they would be right. Our Founding Fathers declared their independence from an oppressive foreign power, but they also declared their dependence on God.

This teaches us an important principle that is almost never stated: freedom and independence are not the same thing. Freedom requires dependence on the only one who can make us free. This is true politically and socially; it is also true (and especially important) morally. The only way we can be free from sin (the most oppressive and tyrannical force that exists) is to be completely dependent on the one who frees us from sin; that is, of course, Our Lord.

May the Lord bless our nation on this weekend, and may we always show our “firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence.”

Gratefully Yours,

During these summer months, our parish continues to be filled with all kinds of activity. The past two weekends we had farewell celebrations for Fr. Marco and Fr. Joseph. It was great to have so many parishioners here to pay tribute to these two fine priests. I will miss both of them more than I can say; we formed a good team, and we have enjoyed our ministry together. I would like to express publicly my thanks to them for all they have done here. Let’s continue to support them with our prayers as they move on to new assignments.

We anxiously await the arrival of our two new parochial vicars, Fr. Mauro and Fr. Aristotle. With you, I look forward to welcoming them to our great community. I’m sure it will be fun to get to know them, and I have no doubt that they will be wonderful additions to our parish.

Meanwhile, this weekend I will observe a special day of my own: Sunday, June 25, will be the 39th anniversary of my priestly ordination. I thank God for these years of ministry, and I thank God that you and I are able to spend some of these years together. God is good to us!

Gratefully Yours,

This weekend we celebrate Father’s Day, a day to honor our fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and others who play a fatherly role in our lives. We look up to these men for guidance, we depend on them for help, and we see in them an earthly reflection of our Heavenly Father. I invite you to join me in praying for them all, whether they are still in this life or already in the next, that God may strengthen and reward them. Let’s make our own the words of the Church’s Book of Blessings:

God our Father,

in your wisdom and love you made all things.

Bless these men,

that they may be strengthened as Christian fathers.

Let the example of their faith and love shine forth.

Grant that we, their sons and daughters,

may honor them always

with a spirit of profound respect.

Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

May the Lord bless all our fathers and father figures on their special day and always!

Gratefully Yours,

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