Contributors Seeking Christ's heart

Our freedom to worship was won by the sacrifice of others

Deacon Dana Nearmyer is the director of evangelization for the archdiocese.

by Deacon Dana Nearmyer

I recently toured Washington, D.C., including the Congress, Arlington National Cemetery, the World War II Memorial and many other sites where great sacrifices are commemorated.

Those sacrifices were made for the sake of freedom. I was moved to tears many times thinking of the people that I do not even know who gave their lives so that my family and I can live in freedom. I am so grateful to those servants and patriots.

The preciousness of earthly freedom is a great inheritance indeed, and it drove me to reflect on the verse from the Gospel of John which says, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world” (6:51).

Jesus died an unwarranted gruesome death freely, so you and I can live forever in heaven, in intimacy with him and our loved ones.

I love the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the reverence that is observed day after day for our fallen unknown heroes. Honoring our country’s heroes fosters gratitude and patriotism. 

Honoring Christ fosters peace and faithfulness. Jesus lived, died and rose in the greatest acts that the world has ever known, but that is not even the most amazing part of his story. The most amazing chapter of his story unfolds every day in reading the living word of God, praying to a living and caring Lord and actually sharing in his divine life each time that we participate in Communion.

Visiting sacred sites teaches the young reverence and reminds us all what freedom costs. Going to Mass is our greatest privilege of freedom. We honor the Father by doing what he asked us to do. We do not memorialize the dead: We share in the divine life of our living Creator. We must pass on this understanding and lifeline of hope to the world, which suffers from addiction, depression and that is too often drawn to deaths of despair.

Locally, eucharistic freedom and amazement are offered at each parish Mass. Regionally, Camp Tekakwitha and Prairie Star Ranch inspire eucharistic amazement in young people. 

If you are looking for a national-scale Catholic experience, on July 17-21, 2024, the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis will bring 80,000 pilgrims together to grow as missionary disciples.  Limited hotels, event passes and extensive information are available on the website at:

God built us for intimacy with him. We are strongest and freest when we are dependent on God. Moment by moment, he shows us the miracle of the seasons, the laughter and embrace of our loved ones, calling us to be his royal children and to invite others to that sacred freedom.

About the author

Deacon Dana Nearmyer

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