Are you ready? Lent starts this week on Ash Wednesday! Ash Wednesday begins our forty days of prayer, fasting and alms giving. Ashes are smeared on our foreheads with the words: “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”
The act of putting ashes on foreheads symbolizes fragility and mortality, and the need for repentance. Far from being a merely external act, the Church has retained the use of ashes to symbolize that attitude of internal penance to which all the baptized are called during Lent. More prayer, more fasting and more alms giving! They are the pillars of Lent and so necessary for any Catholic that takes their faith seriously. Lent is a 40 Day Retreat to convert our lives and our hearts more fully to Christ. Lent is above all a time of prayer. A time to deepen our daily practice of prayer.
We are invited by the Church to follow the custom of fasting. Fasting first from meats on Fridays but also fasting from those pleasures and comforts we might enjoy too much! Such fasting should also be accompanied by an increase of almsgiving for the needs of the poor. St. Augustine, in a sermon on Lent, teaches that: “Through humility and charity, fasting and almsgiving, abstaining and forgiving, avoiding evil and doing good, our prayer seeks peace and achieves it.” (Sermon 206)
There is a complete schedule of Masses and Confessions on Ash Wednesday and for all of Lent in this week’s bulletin. Clip it out and place prominently in your house. Take up the Cross of Lent and add more devotion and less distraction, more fasting and less feasting, and more sacrifice for the poor and less selfishness!
Our Lenten Season at OLM includes an annual Lenten Mission. So mark your calendars for the Mission from March 23rd thru March 27th. Father Nathan Ricci, an outstanding young priest and dynamic preacher, is our Lenten Mission Preacher this year.
All-Day Confessions are scheduled for Saturday, March 23rd from 9:00AM until 3:00PM. In addition, we’ve added daily Confessions and an extra Confessor for Monday night Confessions. And Confessions on Saturdays at 3:00PM remain. There will also be ample opportunity for Confession during the Lenten Mission.
Each Friday in Lent we celebrate the traditional devotion of the Stations of the Cross. It is a wonderful way to mark Fridays during Lent, a day on which we pray, fast and remember that Christ died for us on Good Friday. So join us in walking the Way of the Cross.
Almsgiving is an important part of Lent. We ask that you consider pledging to the Catholic Charity Appeal as part of your almsgiving. Your almsgiving to the CCA directly supports the good works of the Church in serving the poor and needy. In addition, we encourage every parishioner to take home a simple cardboard Rice Bowl and fill it over Lent with your coins. It is a reminder of our duty to give alms during Lent as we support Operation Rice Bowl in providing food for the poorest of our world.
Lent is coming! Get ready for this time of prayer, penance and the poor! Forty Days to strengthen and renew our Catholic Faith. Forty days to convert ourselves more fully to the Crucified and Risen Lord! Lent is coming, see you on Ash Wednesday!!!
Mr. Scott W. Fuller, Our Lady of Mercy School Principal, informed me that he intends to retire at the end of this school year. In the name of Our Lady of Mercy Church and School, I wish to profoundly thank Mr. Fuller for his outstanding leadership and dedication to Our Lady of Mercy School. His hard work and enthusiasm has and continues to advance the mission of our school to develop saints and scholars for our Church and world.
I have established a committee to begin the search for a new principal for Our Lady of Mercy School. They begin their review of applicants for the position of principal of OLM over the next few weeks. I thank the Committee Chair, Mr. Gregory A. Paolino, and the members for their service in leading the search. During this time and as we begin this new chapter in the history our great parish school, I ask for your continued prayers. Our Lady of Mercy, pray for us!
Lent is coming! Pray, fast, and give alms! Be well. Do good. God Bless.