This past weekend was Nebraska's annual "Walk for Life".  Over 5,000 people gathered to represent their opposition to abortion and support of the sanctity of life from conception to natural death.  A mass of people unified in their belief that life is precious.  This is an event we participate in every year if possible.  Some years the weather is beautiful and others it is bitter, but the message is the same, and always important. 

Mathilda walked hand in hand with several of her friends and their photo appeared in today's newspaper.  The walk is always energetic.  Some walk silently, some visit quietly (the word 'QUIETLY' is used in perspective to the normal voices), some walk in prayer, but all walk for the same cause.  It has always been a wonderful opportunity to reunite with friends and clergy that we don't get to see regularly.

There is a lot going on in our nation that affects the pro-life community in a very negative way. 

This weekend, a letter of warning and concern was read at all Masses in our Diocese.  I understand that the letter was also read at some Protestant churches, as even though it was written addressing the Catholic community, it is indeed pertinant to all Christians.  I remember when someone once commented that the hoopla that was being created regarding the idea of removing the phrase "In God we Trust" was on the forefront.  My thought and response at that time was that it was a big deal because "small" issues is where big things get started.  Pretty soon we don't even notice how many layers of our freedom are being peeled away before we recognize how out of control it all is.  We're there and it is quite concerning.

As a Christian nation, we must pray together that our freedom is preserved as it was meant to be.

The following is a letter written by our bishop, The Most Reverend Fabian W. Bruskewitz:

Beloved in Christ,

The Catholic Bishops of the United States, led by Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, are joining together to call the attention of all Catholics in our country to a serious attack upon our faith, upon our consciences, and upon our chrished freedom of religion.  I am happy to join my voice and efforts to thesee Successors of the Apostles and to protest most strongly against a mandate, not even a duly passed law, issued by the Obama Administration that requires all Catholics in the United States to violate their consciences and support abortion, abortion-causing drugs, contraception and sterilization.

As you know, the buying of health insurance by every citizen of the USA is now compulsory by federal law.  The same law gives to the Cabinet Secretary of Health and Human Services the authority over all health insurance.  The present Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, a bitter fallen-away Catholic, now means that all of our Catholic schools, hospitals, social service agencies, and the like will be forced to participate in evil.  The Catholic Church has pleaded with President Obama to rescind this edict, but all pleas have been met with scorn and have fallen on deaf ears.  This mandate is accompanied by new attacks by the federal government on Catholic Relief Services and on the Bishop's work in immigration and refugee settlement services.

Secretary Sebelius, in an act of mockery, said that those who might qualify for a conscientious exemption (almost no one), have one year to comply, but during that year they must "refer" people to the insurance that covers wicked deeds.  We cannot and will not comply with this unjust decree.  Like the martyrs of old, we must be prepared to accept suffering which could include heavy fines and imprisonment.  Our American relgious liberty is in grave jeopardy. 

All Catholic are asked to pray and do penance that this matter may be resolved.  All should contact their elected representatives to protest this outrage and to insist on the passage of the "Respect for Conscience" act which is now before Congress.