Last Saturday saw a steady flow of people coming for All-Day Confessions. What a great witness to God’s mercy and forgiveness as so many came forward for the Sacrament. I wish to thank my sixteen brother priests who helped with the All-Day Confessions. Also we offer our gratitude to the many volunteers who greeted people and helped the day run so smoothly.
All-Day Confessions was followed by our Lenten Mission with Fr. Nathan Ricci. His preaching on God’s mercy provided much good food for thought, prayer and reflection for us. Judging from the great turn out all week, I think his message was well received. I thank him for taking time out of his very busy schedule to be with us and preach the Mission.
On Friday night we gathered for a simple Lenten Supper of soup and bread. The free will offerings went to support the good works of Catholic Relief Services Operation Rice Bowl. CRS is at the forefront of responding to the recent natural disasters and droughts in Africa and I know they are in desperate need of our support. I am grateful to all who helped make this event possible and for all who turned out for the supper. Following the supper, we gathered for the Stations of the Cross. Walking the way of the Cross is a wonderful Lenten devotion.
Since Lent is a penitential season of preparation for Easter, the Stations of the Cross, which follow the path of Christ from Pontius Pilate's praetorium to Christ's tomb have been a popular devotion in the history of the Church. It is an ancient devotion but by the end of the 17th century, the erection of stations in churches became more popular. In 1686, Pope Innocent XI, realizing that few people could travel to the Holy Land, granted the right to erect stations in all parish churches.
The fourteen stations are in every Catholic Church the world over. Also known as "way of the cross" or "via crucis" this private devotion consists of 14 stations, taken both from Scripture and tradition. Through the stations, we are able to spiritually journey to the via dolorosa ( "way of sorrows" or "way of suffering") in Jerusalem without actually going there. It allows us as pilgrims to meditate through reflection and prayer.
Pope Francis encourages us to take up the devotion of the Stations during Lent. He suggests: “The Cross of Christ contains all the love of God; there we find his immeasurable mercy. This is a love in which we can place all our trust, in which we can believe. Let us entrust ourselves to Jesus, let us give ourselves over to him, because he never disappoints anyone! Only in Christ crucified and risen can we find salvation and redemption.”
If you have not yet made the Stations of the Cross on a Friday in Lent, please consider doing so before the season ends. This Friday would be a good opportunity as our OLM Middle School students will offer us the Living Stations of the Cross. This very prayerful and powerful performance is a great opportunity for all of us to spend some time with Christ on the way to Calvary. The students have been rehearsing for weeks and the Living Stations is always so well done. On Friday the students will perform the Living Stations at 1:00PM for the entire school community and any parishioner who would like to attend. Also they will perform them again at 7:00PM on Friday night. So please come join us in prayerful devotion at the Living Stations of the Cross. It is a wonderful way to take up prayer this Lent.
Our forty days of Lent seem to be going quickly. How is your Lent going? Are you keeping the fast, the prayer and the almsgiving? There is no better way to prepare for the glory and joy of Easter than having a good Lent. So take up the Cross of Lent, pray, fast and give alms! The schedule for Holy Week is in the bulletin. It falls during the School Spring Break this year. If you are traveling for the April Vacation, please go to masstimes.org to find where you can attend Holy Week Services and Easter Sunday Mass.
This is the last week for the Saturday evening Mass at 4:00PM. Beginning next Saturday it moves forward to 5:00PM and Confessions are to begin at 4:00pm now. Please make note of this change and let your family, friends and neighbors know!
Remember Fridays are for fish and Stations of the Cross! Be well. Do good. God Bless.