The season of Lent
began last Wednesday and ends on Holy Thursday evening. It began with grim but honest ashes, the solemn reminder of our limits and the church's call to conversion. A fifth century homily outlines the ideal of a full Lenten observance, a journey that leads us back to God while leading us also to another: "Prayer, mercy, and fasting: these three are one, they give life to each other. Fasting is the soul of prayer; mercy is the life-blood of fasting. Let no one try to separate them, they cannot be separated. If you have only one of them or not all together, you have nothing. So, if you pray, fast; if you fast, show mercy; if you want your petition heard, hear the petition of others. If you hope for mercy, show mercy. If you look for kindness, show kindness. If you want to recieve, give" (Peter Chrysologus; Office of Readings, Tuesday, Third Week of Lent). The practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are not mean to be an exercise in self-improvement. Rather, as St. Benedict's Rule reminds us, they should be part of every Christian life in every season of the year. The purpose of Lent is to lead us to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which releases us from sin, restores us to baptismal innocence and reconciles us to God and to the community.
Everyone is welcome to our parish/faith formation Reconciliation Service on Tuesday, March 3 at 6:30 pm
following Soup Supper. There will be an opportunity for Individual Reconciliation as a part of the evening's activities. This is our parish Reconciliation Service for Lent. On Thursday, March 19 at 11:00 am, there will be a special "senior" Stations of the Cross with an opportunity for Individual Reconciliation. There will also be a number of additional opportunities for Individaul Confession the week before Easter. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is celebrated on Saturdays from 4:00 to 4:40 pm and is always available by appointment. During our weekend liturgies, greater emphasis will be placed on the Penitential Rite at the beginning of Mass. Incense will be used during that time at all of our weekend Masses.
To help with your Lenten exercises of prayer, fasting and almsgiving:
our parish community gathers for Mass
during the week in the Historic Church on Tuesday evening at 6:30 and Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings at 8:30. There is a Word & Communion Service in the Chapel on Monday mornings at 8:30. If you are unavailable to participate in daily Mass, but would like to pray, the daily readings are listed in the bulletin each week. Lent is also a wonderful opportunity for extended prayer before the Blessed Sacrament from the end of Mass on Wednesday morning until Benediction at 9:00 pm. There will be a special 24 hour day of Adoration on March 11 & 12; sign-up board will be posted next week. We will continue the tradition of a Lenten Soup Supper on Tuesday evenings of Lent at 5:15 pm. A simple soup meal will be prepared and served by various parish groups in the Great Hall. All are then encouraged to stay for Mass at 6:30 in the Historic Church. In addition, we will pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy on the Friday mornings of Lent at 8:15 am and the Stations of the Cross on the Friday evenings of Lent at 7:00 pm. We will once again have the opportunity to participate in the Catholic Relief Services Operation Rice Bowl. For thirty-five years, Operation Rice Bowl has inspired Catholics in the United States to pray, fast, learn and give as we increase our understanding of our global community and connect that with the principles of Catholic Social Teaching through our Lenten journey. For your convenience materials will be available to be picked up in the Gathering Space. And finally, this year we are offering a 5 week journey into "The Paschal Mystery Journey of a Lifetime." It will be led by Ivy Caveign beginning on Thursday, February 26 in the morning from 9:15-10:30 am OR in the evening from 7:00 - 8:30 pm.Thank you to all who have responded to the 2015 Catholic Services Appeal.
To date we have received over 235 pledge envelopes. If you have not made your contribution, please consider doing so next weekend. In-pew pledge envelopes are still available and we want to give everyone an opportunity to participate. One pledge can make a difference, especially when combined with all of the other pledges made through our local church. And, when our parish reaches its goal, 25% of all funds recieved will be returned for support of our own ministries and programs. Please prayerfully consider providing your financial support to the Catholic Services Appeal. You can and will make a difference. It is important to know that contributions to the Catholic Services Appeal will be used for the benefit of designated ministries of the Appeal. Please visit the new Catholic Services Appeal Foundation website at www.csafspm.org
for more information. Thank you again for your prayerful consideration and generous response.
This weekend, we observe a combined Rite of Welcoming and Election
for our RCIA candidates Michael Cahanes, Lori Kelch, Scot Kelch and Stephanie Messer during the 10:00 Mass. This Rite affirms their intention and readiness to receive the sacraments of initiation. As a pledge of fidelity the candidates inscribe their names in the book that lists those who have been chosen for initiation. The Book of the Elect will be enthroned at the Baptism Font during the season of Lent.
DEO GRATIAS Fr. Mark