This weekend is the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Again this week (as last week and next!), we will hear an extended passage from the Sermon on the Mount, as Saint Matthew has it recorded. In these passages Jesus reinterprets the law for His disciples. He challenges them to take it one step further, to do more than just follow the letter of the law. May we prayerfully consider how we can trust Jesus to guide us in our daily lives.
Next weekend will be the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (and the Sunday before the begin- ning of Lent). Continuing the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus challenges us to turn the other cheek and to love our enemies. These are not our instincts. It is not easy. We get angry, we are upset, we want to do or say something to express that pain and rage. As we approach the season of Lent, beginning on Ash Wednesday, February 26th, may the example of our Lord inspire us to respond to all conflict with mercy and forgiveness.
Returning your old palm: Ash Wednesday is just 10 days away on Wednesday, February 26. Beginning this weekend there are containers at each entrance of church for you to bring back your “old palm” to be burned to be ashes for Ash Wednesday. Weather permitting there will be a prayer service at 2:15 p.m. on Monday, February 24, with our school children attending, when we will burn the palm to get the ashes ready for use on Ash Wednesday. (If you recall we were unable to do the service on either Monday or Tuesday last year because of the bad weather!) If the weather is bad (too windy, rain, or snow on Monday), the “make-up date” will be Tuesday, February 25, also at 2:15 P.M. (For planning purposes, we will have our traditional four Masses on Ash Wednesday, 6:30 A.M., 8:15 A.M., with our school children attending, 12:10 P.M., and 7:00 P.M., with our PSR students attending. Parents are obviously invited to attend with their children at the 8:15 A.M. or the 7:00 P.M. Masses. (Stations on Fridays at 2:00 P.M.)
Shrove Tuesday Luncheon: There is a tradition here of having a “Shrove Tuesday / Mardi Gras” luncheon in the Parish Hall on the day before Lent begins. Although no one has volunteered to chair the event, I want it to continue. So the lunch, beginning right at noon on Tuesday, February 25, will be a true POT LUCK LUNCH. I would ask, however, that those who will be attending to please call the parish office (314.434.4211) and tell us that you are coming and what you would like to bring, so we have some sort of an idea. Thank you. We have a great program arranged, that will begin at 12:30.
Our Middle School students will join all the others to hear about an organization that was started by a classmate of mine from St Louis University High School, John Hock. You may find information about the organization at their website: friendsofhondurasstl.org
Our Mission: The Friends of Honduras organization is aware of the many challenges facing the remote communities of Intibucá, Honduras. Our mission is to improve the health, education, nutritional status, and well being of the people living in the remote villages of Intibucá. We are partners with the people of these communities and bring medical resources, education resources, agricultural support, clean water technologies, and hope to the poorest of the poor in the region. We began our community development project in Guanacaste, Intibucá, Honduras in 2012.
I think you will enjoy the presentation and hopefully there will (eventually) be interaction (via computer) between our school children and the children in the village of Guanacaste. BUT PLEASE let the office know that you will be coming. The parish will have a PASTA SALAD that will serve a good number of people! The rest? That’s up to you.
Operation Rice Bowl: The Archbishop sent this letter this past week to all the pastors asking that we, once again, support the Operation Rice Bowl. More than 40 years ago, Catholics in the United States wanted to assist people who were hungry and starving in Africa. Could people be helped through prayers, fasting and almsgiving?
The solution came in the form of a small cardboard box, marking the beginning of “Operation Rice Bowl.” CRS Rice Bowl is the Lenten program of Catholic Relief Services and begins on Ash Wednes- day, February 26, 2020.
Catholic Relief Services is the official overseas relief and development agency of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and a member of Caritas Internationalis and the National Catholic Development Conference. Seventy-five percent of your Rice Bowl donations support CRS’s humanitarian relief programs in nearly 100 countries.
Additionally, Catholic Relief Services allows each diocese that participates to keep 25% of the collec- tion in the local community to be used for hunger and poverty alleviation programs. In the Archdio- cese of St. Louis, these funds support food pantries and other programs.
Our School Children and PSR students will be given their own Rice Bowl. The extras will be in the lobby of Church for your use at home. Both the Archbishop and I hope that some of your “almsgiving” during Lent will be for this long standing program.
The Archbishop also sent these as a reminder to us all: ARCHDIOCESAN LENTEN REGULA- TIONS: The Pope and the American Latin Rite Bishops have outlined obligatory fast and absti- nence as follows: Ash Wednesday (February 26, 2020), all Fridays of Lent and Good Friday (April 10, 2020) are days of abstinence (refraining from meat) for all Catholics from age 14 onwards. On these two days, fast, as well as abstinence, is also obligatory for those from the ages of 18-59. Abstinence means refraining from meat. Fast means one full meal a day, with two smaller meals and nothing between meals (liquids are permitted). No Catholic will lightly excuse himself or herself from this obligation. We should strive to make all days of Lent a time of prayer and penance. Following are several resources that can aid in finding different forms of prayer and penance.
ARCHDIOCESAN LENTEN RESOURCES:
There are many excellent resources for the Season of Lent you might wish to use or share with your parishioners. Following are also a list of some resources available for Lent this year:
- Augustine Institute Formed: https://formed.org/
- Best Lent Ever daily reflections (Matthew Kelly): https://dynamiccatholic.com/best-lent-ever
- Bishop Robert Barron “Word on Fire” Lenten Reflections: https://www.lentreflections.com/
- FDLC Lenten Planning Guide: 2020 Lent and Easter Liturgical Planning Guide Year pdf
- USCCB: http://usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year/lent/index.cfm
Two last things: 1.) Tomorrow, February 17, Presidents’ Day, is an Archdiocesan Holiday: the parish office will be closed and school too. 2.) The school will not be at the 8:15 Mass on Wednesday, but the Mass will be celebrated, with Adoration beginning following the Mass.
Fr Joe Weber