Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,
Bishop Pates sent information to all parishes about the very real concern about the recent Health and Human Services mandate very well described in the Iowa Catholic Conference Newsletter for February 3, 2012:
“All four of Iowa’s Bishops are speaking out against the recent federal Health and Human Services mandate which would require almost all religious organizations to pay for sterilization and contraceptive coverage (including abortion-causing drugs) in their health care insurance plans for employees.” To see the statements from Iowa Bishops, you can visit our “Resources” page for a link to the diocesan websites.
If you haven’t done so already, please go to www.usccb.org/conscience for a sample message to Congress in support of Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179, S. 1467). I would also point you in the direction of a recent opinion piece by Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York: go to usccb.org/about/media-relations/resources/wall-street-journal-op-ed-on-religious-freedom.cfm.
I encourage you to use the sample message to Congress to support the H.R. 1179, S. 1467 bills to prevent this mandate from being implemented next August.
This last Monday, I had a chance to join a Question and Answer session with Mike Aqualina, a noted author, concerning the early Fathers of the Church. It was great to see that elements of today’s church had their origins from the earliest history of the Church.
On Tuesday, I was delighted to lead the 2nd session of Catholicism 101 with about 17 people at St. Anne’s. Our last session will be next week. For those who may be interested, I will offer the same class on four Sundays of Lent after the 9:00 am Mass. There will be a sign up this week.
On Wednesday, I went to the funeral for Fr. Richard Bergman. He had been in Bishop Drumm for the last six years after suffering a stroke. When he was first ordained, he was the associate pastor in St. Mary’s in Panama, my home parish. He was my religion teacher in High School for 2 years. May he rest in peace. Later that afternoon, I concelebrated the Catholic School’s Staff Awards Mass at St. Joseph’s church in Des Moines.
That evening, the Strategic Planning Team detailed the description of values they determined need to be in our Master Plan. More about those values in another letter.
On Thursday evening, there was Eucharistic Minister training for Liturgy Captains and Ministers of Eucharist. After the training, the Liturgy Committee reviewed the ministries and looked at Lenten plans. That season of prayer, fasting and almsgiving is nearly with us. On Friday, the feast of St. Blaise, I offered people the blessing of throats for the intercession of this saint for our health for the year. And then it snowed! Be blessed this week.
Fr. Larry Hoffmann