February 24, 2018

Bishop Barres’ Lenten Letter

Dear Friends:

As we look to the future we are aware that we continue to face difficulties both here on Long Island
and in our country at large. Whether they involve the opioid epidemic, gang violence, racism, or
any other threat, a deep trust and reliance on the Risen Christ is necessary for us to advance and
make progress in dealing with these problems.

In order to better welcome the Resurrected Jesus into our hearts, a solid Lenten spirituality
grounded in prayer, fasting and almsgiving for the needs of the Church and the World is essential.
On Wednesday, April 4, 2018 we will commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the tragic death of Dr.
Martin Luther King. Our commemoration of this anniversary falls appropriately between Easter
Sunday (April 1) and Divine Mercy Sunday (April 8).

I would ask that during the Lenten season we all prepare for this historic anniversary by dedicating
dimensions of our Lenten prayer, fasting and almsgiving to the pursuit of racial harmony and
comprehensive immigration reform grounded in the principles of the sanctity of human life and the
dignity of the human person.

By aligning our Lent in solidarity with our African American and Hispanic brothers and sisters and
the injustices they have suffered and are suffering, we dream and act with Dr. King and his clarion
call for justice in our land.

We dream and act in a way that treasures the African American legacy of contribution in this
country. We dream and act in a way that not only welcomes our Hispanic brothers and sisters but
expresses our deep appreciation for their gifts and leadership in the Church and in American
society, and we advocate together for comprehensive immigration reform. 1

We also think and pray globally this Lent as we remember the people in North Korea, Jerusalem
and every country in the Middle East, Bangladesh, Haiti, Venezuela, South Sudan, Somalia,
Burundi, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, The Central African Republic, Nigeria and every
war-torn and poverty-stricken area of the World.

We remember the poor, the homeless, the unemployed, those who suffer with mental illness,
chronic physical illness and pain. We remember the hundreds of thousands of unborn children
whose innocent lives are taken every year through abortion and the terrible toll this takes on
individuals, families and our entire society.

We remember the addicted and particularly those who suffer opioid addiction, those ensnared in the
culture of death of gangs, drug trade, human trafficking, and their victims — who are often children
— at the borders, those who suffer violations of religious liberty and the sanctity of human life, those
who suffer from the trauma of sexual abuse and all forms of abuse, harassment or cyberbullying,
those in the midst of a family or marital crisis, those who grieve the loss of a child, a spouse, a
friend, a loved one. We remember the painful crosses that our elderly carry and we give thanks for
the wisdom and prayer that they model for us.

And, of course, we remember our servicemen and women overseas and their families back home,
and our first responders here. We remember our Veterans and their sacrifices. 2

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