Greetings!
 
We are approaching July 4th, Independence Day, the day we as a nation give thanks to God for the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In America, there is a great need for people of faith to join together to pray the protection of our founding principles and for strength in the battles that lie ahead of us. 
 
There are men and women who daily stand in the gap for us in service to our country, both here and abroad. Daily, they put their lives on the line for the cause of freedom and they deserve our support. The greatest means of support we can offer them is the support of prayer, especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

For this reason, we are offering a  Novena of Masses for our service men and women - past and present  - living and deceased - for their physical, emotional, and psychological well-being, for their families, for the nation they protect and for the people who benefit from their protection - you and me. We also pray for those who died in the line of duty and the souls of those who were willing to lay down their lives for another.

Perhaps you have a loved one or an extended family member who is serving or has served in our armed services, or a friend, neighbor, or parishioner, for example. Or maybe you just acknowledge the great gift of sacrifice these men and women make on your behalf, and want to demonstrate that. We want to offer you an opportunity to remember them by name at the  Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout this Novena. It will begin July 4th and will be offered by Reverend Father Joseph Opoka Jong . The graces they will receive will be beyond measure.
Father Joseph was ordained a priest on July 18, 2009, a graduate from Sacred Heart Seminary, Archdiocese of the Archdiocese of Gulu, Northern Uganda. After his priestly ordination, he was assigned to minister to the people of God in the following parishes: Associate pastor of Namokora Catholic Parish 2009 to 2010; Assiciate pastor of Palabek Catholic Parish 2010 to 2012; Associate pastor of Patongo Catholic Parish 2012 to 2014. Appointed pastor of Blessed Daudi Okelo & Jildo Irwa Pader Town Parish 2014 to date. He is also Dean of Kalongo Deanery. Father Joseph is a hard-working, committed, prayerful and gentle priest.
This July 4th, for most of us, will be a time of celebration with friends and family. Let us also come together as the Mystical Body of Christ and remember those who, throughout the generations and even today, lay down their lives for the cause of freedom. 

I invite you to use the link below to send me the names of your loved ones. My prayer is that these Masses will be a source of abundant grace and protection for our service men and women, past and present, living and deceased. 


May the abundant life of Jesus Christ be yours, and may God bless you!

In His Service and with gratitude,
Johnnette Benkovic Williams
Founder and President

 
Prayer for Our Nation

God our Father, giver of life, we entrust the United States of America to your loving care. You are the rock on which this nation was founded. You alone are the true source of our cherished rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Reclaim this land for your glory and dwell among your people.

Send your Spirit to touch the hearts of our nation’s leaders. Open their minds to the great worth of human life and the responsibilities that accompany human freedom. Remind your people that true happiness is rooted in seeking and doing your will.

Through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, patroness of our land, grant us the courage to reject the “culture of death.” Lead us into a new millennium of life.
We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Prayer Source: BostonCatholic.org

Image Source: Airmen return from Persian Gulf deployment on Independence Day 
Capt. Ross Farling, a C-130 pilot in the 123rd Airlift Wing, hugs his daughters during an emotional homecoming ceremony at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., July 4, 2015. Farling was among 39 Kentucky Air Guardsmen who were returning from a deployment to the Persian Gulf region, where they've been supporting Operation Freedom's Sentinel since February. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Maj. Dale Greer) 

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