This has been a busy time for our whole parish and for the Catholic Church throughout the country. In our parish the building project is progressing in a rather dramatic way. It is rare that things are the same each time we come to our parish facility. Our General Contractor, Hill and Wilkerson and all their sub-contractors and our architects, Alliance Architects, are doing a wonderful job, as they have with all the projects that they have directed in the past. By now you can get a better idea of what the project represents. It is so gratifying to see the original plans for the expansion of the Church actually being used. Usually expansion plans get modified or abandoned. We are able to see how this has been designed all along. Thank you for your financial support of our project. I hope that you will be able to say that with God’s grace we have done this TOGETHER!
Thank you as well for your patience in finding ways into the facility during the construction. I hope that the makeshift signs are doing their part. With so many children in our parish, it is very important that “leash laws” be enforced. We are happy that people are interested in the construction and want to stand at the courtyard fence to watch what is happening. Please, do stay on “our side” of the fence.
There has been unhappy news regarding the Health and Human Services directive concerning health care mandates. The focus of the problem is a violation of the free exercise of our religion. Here is the current position of the UnitedStates Conference of Catholic Bishops:
“First, we objected to the rule forcing private health plans — nationwide, by the stroke of a bureaucrat’s pen—to cover sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion…. All the other mandated “preventive services” prevent disease, and pregnancy is not a disease. Moreover, forcing plans to cover abortifacients violates existing federal conscience laws. Therefore, we called for the rescission of the mandate altogether.
"Second, we explained that the mandate would impose a burden of unprecedented reach and severity on the consciences of those who consider such “services” immoral: insurers forced to write policies including this coverage; employers and schools forced to sponsor and subsidize the coverage; and individual employees and students forced to pay premiums for the coverage. We therefore urged HHS, if it insisted on keeping the mandate, to provide a conscience exemption for all of these stakeholders—not just the extremely small subset of “religious employers” that HHS proposed to exempt initially.
“Today, the President has done two things. First, he has decided to retain HHS’s nationwide mandate of insurance coverage of sterilization and contraception, including some abortifacients. This is both unsupported in the law and remains a grave moral concern. We cannot fail to reiterate this, even as so many would focus exclusively on the question of religious liberty.
“Second, the President has announced some changes in how that mandate will be administered, which is still unclear in its details. As far as we can tell at this point, the change appears to have the following basic contour: It would still mandate that all insurers must include coverage for the objectionable services in all the policies they would write. At this point, it would appear that self-insuring religious employers, and religious insurance companies, are not exempt from this mandate. It would allow non-profit, religious employers to declare that they do not offer such coverage. But the employee and insurer may separately agree to add that coverage. The employee would not have to pay any additional amount to obtain this coverage, and the coverage would be provided as a part of the employer’s policy, not as a separate rider.
“Finally, we are told that the one-year extension on the effective date (from August 1, 2012 to August 1, 2013) is available to any non-profit religious employer who desires it, without any government application or approval process.” (USCCB Press Release, February 10, 2012)
For more information, please go online to
www.USCCB.org or www.usccb.org/conscience. These links will help you contact your member of congress. It is especially important that you support the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179, S. 1467). Also see www.catholicnews.com for updated information. Many disreputable people will try to enflame a bitterness. The cross of Christ is our way. We must love our enemies.