Ash Wednesday has come and gone! How is your Lent going? Have you taken up the sacred discipline of prayer, fasting and alms giving? Forty days always seems like a very long time to commit to such a radical departure from our normal routine. However, if we stick to our Lenten discipline for forty days we grow spiritually and deepen our relationship with the Lord. So in other words, it’s well worth the effort!!
Praying more helps us grow more connected to God. Fasting more helps us grow more dependent on God. Giving more helps become more aware of God in our brothers and sisters. Pray, fast and give alms!
Have you given up something for Lent? Many people sacrifice a pleasure for these forty days like cigars, chocolate, sweets, or alcohol. Many others take on some extra spiritual exercise like attending Mass daily, making the Stations of the Cross weekly, reading the Scared Scriptures or praying the Rosary. All these things are excellent ways to enter into Lent. The point of such sacrifice and devotion is not to make us healthier, skinner or smoke-free but rather to strengthen our faith and deepen our relationship with the Lord. If we lose weight and get physically healthier, it’s an added benefit not the primary purpose.
I remember as a kid competing with my brothers and sisters who could make the biggest sacrifice for Lent. Everybody gave up candy but only the brave would do something more dramatic like giving up watching any TV! My older brother and I did that one Lent and watched no TV. Such a sacrifice was tough but worth it! In our time, we might all consider fasting from our cell phones and technology like our computers or Ipads. I know its not possible to put away the phone or computer for 40 days but maybe one or two hours a week or even all day on Friday. Less Twitter, less Instagram, less Facebook, less texting and less email all lead to less distraction.
Instead spend some time talking directly with God in Church, at Mass, in Confession or even at home. God is not on Facebook, God doesn't’ tweet, and God doesn’t text or email! Lent calls us back to the basics with prayer, devotion, and the Sacraments! Lent is really a little like Spring Cleaning for the soul. We seek to remove the excess debris that blocks God in our lives and hearts. We especially clean our souls by making our way to Confession to humbly and sacramentally receive God’s mercy and forgiveness of our sins.
Speaking of Spring Cleaning, the interior walls of the Church appear much cleaner and brighter. They were recently cleaned through a special process and the grime and dirt washed away. This hadn’t been done in many years. The cost was $3000. I am grateful for your support of the monthly Building and Grounds Collection that funds such needed maintenance of our physical plant.
I wish to offer my thanks to Paul Anderson and our OLM Maintenance crew for their great job of snow removable. Although we’ve had fewer storms, they’ve worked extra hard in ensuring the parking lots and walkways are cleared of snow and ice when it does snow. They do so at all hours of the day and night and always in time for Mass!
On Saturday night we celebrate in advance the feasts of St. Patrick and St. Joseph. Our Gaelic and Garlic Night is a great event with good food, good music and good fun for the family. All the proceeds help our OLM Outreach Ministry to the Poor.
Next Sunday at the 10:30AM Mass we celebrate St. Patrick with Irish hymns and readings in the Irish language. A light reception of Irish bread and coffee follows. It’s the Second Sunday of Lent, but we’ll make sure it’s got an Irish flavor! We celebrate St. Joseph on March 19th with Mass in Italian celebrated by Bishop Evans. Fr. James Sullivan, OP, the Pastor of St. Pius V, is our preacher. He’s Irish but don’t worry he lived in Rome many years and belongs to the St. Joseph Province of the Dominican Friars. Mass is at 12:05 and a reception of Italian pastry and coffee follows.
Thanks for your support of the Catholic Charity Appeal we’re off to a good start! It’s Lent! Pray, fast, and give alms! See you at Stations on Friday! Be well. Do good. God Bless.