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Fr. Ron's Blog

Dear Friends,

Wednesday of this week is ASH WEDNESDAY, the beginning of Lent. As you have heard many times before, the word Lent derives from a German root which meant - spring - as in the season, but originally meant - long - referring to the time of year during which the days grew longer. While spring is still more than a month away, the temperatures have certainly put us in a more spring-like mood than in a winter mood (let’s hope it stays like that through March). And Daylight Savings Time begins in only three weeks.

Lent should be a truly special time of the year for Christians, much the same as Ramadan is for the Muslims. It is a time to take stock of our lives, at the same time performing acts of sacrifice and penance to change those aspects of our lives that turn us away from God. It is a time to allow God to grow Himself more deeply in our hearts and therefore in the ways we live our lives. Couldn’t we all benefit from that? If this is the springtime of our progression from Covid, at the same time may it be the springtime of God’s lengthening presence in our lives.

I encourage everyone, man, woman and child to take this Lent more seriously than at any other time. Do something that’s a real sacrifice. Challenge yourself in ways that you never thought possible. Sacrifice something that you really like, like sleep, getting up a bit earlier to go to daily Mass (6:30, 8:30 or 12:00). Or say a Rosary everyday or read a chapter from one of the four Gospels each day. Or fast every day of Lent (Monday thru Saturday, like in the “old days, or, if that’s too much, Wednesdays and Fridays (see the piece in the bulletin about what fasting entails). Encourage your children to sacrifice something they really like, such as giving up some time on one of their electronic gadgets, using that time to help you or someone else). And help them to stick to it throughout the whole season. As a society, we rarely speak about sacrifice but we practice it every day; teenagers sacrifice time with their friends in pursuit of athletic excellence, dads sacrifice early nights at home for that extra advantage at work, moms either sacrifice career opportunities to be stay-at-home or time with their children because they need to be “working moms.” People sacrifice all the time, without identifying it as sacrifice. The Church invites us not only to do it, but to name it so that we may focus all our spiritual energies during this ”spring” time, lengthening the awareness of God’s presence in our lives. For the past three years, our focus has been on the pandemic, how to stay safe and how to get through it. With it (the pandemic) fading into the background, but I would not say “over,” maybe we can look at the broader aspects of our lives and examine if God really holds a special and center place. If not, Lent is the time to put Him there.

Of course, don’t forget to get off to a good start by coming to church on Ash Wednesday to receive that one, special sign which is one of the signature signs of being a Catholic, although many Christian denominations have now returned to the practice - ashes. Masses will be celebrated at 6:30AM, 8:30AM, 12:00 noon and 7:30 PM. Services (but not Mass and therefore, no Holy Communion), will be celebrated at 4:00PM, and 5:30PM. At all of these celebrations, the ashes are distributed after the Gospel and homily.

Another good way to allow Lent to have a deeper meaning in your life is the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Penance, confession. Confessions are heard every Saturday, from 1:00PM-2:00PM, with two priests hearing, and on Monday evenings at 7:00PM. Don’t wait for Holy Week. Avoid the rush and go to confession early.

Make this Lent the most memorable since Covid struck in March 2020. By the time it’s over, you’ll see the difference.

Blessings for a fruitful Lent,
Fr. Ron

PS. I haven’t forgotten that we’re still in the early phases of the Annual Appeal. I just thought I would take a break this weekend from words on the Appeal to concentrate on what is certainly of greater importance - our spiritual life and a time of the year especially dedicated to deepening that life with the Lord. More on the Appeal next week.


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