Dear Parishioners: Catholic Schools Week has ended and it was a grand celebration this week. The OLM School students speaking at Masses last weekend did a superb job and truly captured the spirit of our school. The OLM School Open House drew lots of visitors exploring the great opportunities offered at our parish school. Every day this past week OLM School celebrated Catholic Schools Week with a different event such as Mass on Monday, a Book Fair, a community service project and teacher appreciation day. On Tuesday the students had went bowling with their class.However, two of our OLM School Fifth Graders sacrificed going bowling with their class to volunteered to serve a Funeral Mass being celebrated at the same hour. What a great witness to what OLM School is truly all about, “becoming saints and scholars so that mercy might flourish.”
Now that Catholic Schools Week has concluded we look to the big event beginning this week. Yes, Lent begins this Wednesday as once again we begin the solemn fast of forty days! On Ash Wednesday we are distributing ashes at all four Masses, 7:30am, 9AM School Mass, 12:05PM and 7PM. In the bulletin there is a full schedule of the Lenten Schedule at OLM.
As is the tradition at OLM, we are adding an extra Daily Mass at 12:05PM, Monday through Friday during Lent. This Mass is to be attended by our OLM School students but I also urge all of you to consider coming to one of the two Daily Masses offered at OLM during Lent. There is no better way to pray than Holy Mass, so consider coming to Mass during the week. We are once again offering the Stations of the Cross on each Friday of Lent. It is truly a tremendous devotion to celebrate Lent as together we walk with Christ to Calvary. Please consider adding Stations to your Friday night schedule.
We also have added times for the Sacrament of Confession at OLM. On our normal Monday night Confessions at 6pm we are adding a guest priest confessor each week. Also Confessions are to be heard every weekday during Lent. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays just before the 12:05PM Mass, Confessions are to heard from 11:45am until Noon. And on Tuesdays and Thursdays we are to hear Confessions before the daily 7:30AM Mass from 7AM until 7:20AM. In celebration of the Year of Mercy, All-Day Confessions are taking place on March 5th across the state. OLM is once again hosting All-Day Confessions from 9AM until 3PM with four priests hearing confessions all day on March 5th. So please tell your friends and neighbors who have been away from the Church or the Sacrament of Confession, invite them to experience God’s mercy, love and forgiveness!
We have a Lenten Mission scheduled in March. And I happy to announce that Fr. Joe Upton, Chaplain at URI and Prout, is to lead the Mission. He is a dynamic preacher and a terrific young priest, so mark your calendar now for the Mission, March 7-9. Lent means prayer, fasting and alms giving. The guidelines for fasting and abstinence are in the bulletin. Please remember Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting and abstinence and all the Fridays of Lent in a spirit of sacrifice we are to abstain from eating meat.
In the spirit of alms giving I encourage you take home a cardboard Rice Bowl and fill it with donations during Lent. All the money you give and sacrifice supports Operation Rice Bowl in their efforts to feed the hungry of the world. The great work of Catholic Relief Services benefits greatly from your generous donations to the Rice Bowl.
On Wednesday we come forward to have our foreheads smeared with ashes as we are reminded that we “are dust and unto dust we shall return.” As we take up the cross of Lent with faith and sacrifice, let us truly commit to more prayer in our lives, more profound fasting from things that keep us from God, and a greater generosity in giving alms. Pope Francis reminds us: “Let us not waste this season of Lent, so favorable a time for conversion! Pray. Fast. Give Alms. Be well. Do Good. Celebrate Lent! God Bless.