This weekend we celebrate the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (and the Sunday before the beginning 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, may the example of our Lord inspire us to respond to all conflict with mercy and forgiveness.
This Wednesday is, of course, Ash Wednesday. We will come forward on Ash Wednesday to re- ceive ashes on our foreheads, marking us with a visible sign of our faith and our need for penitence. We are told to remember that we are to repent and believe in the Gospel. As we will begin this holy season, our Church’s annual retreat, may we take to heart the command of the Lord and acknowledge our brokenness, resolve with the grace of God to do better, and Follow the path of our saving Lord.
Next Sunday is the First Sunday of Lent. Each year on the First Sunday of Lent the focus is on temptation. Adam and Eve are tempted by the serpent in the Garden of Eden. Jesus is tempted in the desert by the devil. Though the temptations in our life may not be as dramatic as those in Genesis or in Saint Matthew’s Gospel, they may be just as powerful. As we will come together next Sunday for the First Sunday of Lent, may we pray for the strength to resist temptation and for God’s mercy when we fall.
Returning your old palm: Weather permitting there will be a prayer service at 2:15 P.M. tomorrow, 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.
Ash Wednesday Masses: 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. Thank you for your tremendous attendance on Ash Wednesday.
Stations of the Cross will be prayed at 2:00 P.M. each Friday during Lent. When school is in session the Stations will be led by our School Children.
Sacrament of Reconciliation: Every Saturday afternoon from 3:30 – 4:30 P.M. Most Saturdays we will have two confessors. There are also confessions available each Wednesday from 3:30 – 4:30 P.M. Finally we will have Penance Services in March and early April for our parish.
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, nutri- tional 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: Our School Children and PSR students were given their own Rice Bowl. The extras will be in the lobby of Church for your use at home. Both the Archbishop (his letter was in last weekend’s bulletin) and I hope that some of your “almsgiving” during Lent will be for this long standing program.
The Archbishop wants to remind us of the ARCHDIOCESAN LENTEN REGULATIONS: The Pope and the American Latin Rite Bishops have outlined obligatory fast and abstinence 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. 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
Please mark your calendars now for Monday, March 23: We have had some missions the past couple of years; this will be a one night evening of reflection with Sr Kathryn Hermes, FSP: Healing Our Woundedness. Sr Kathryn, author of “Reclaim Regret: How God Heals Life’s Disappointments” will lead us on a spiritual path for healing the wounds we all carry. The evening will last from 7:00 -9:00 P.M. in Msgr. Schneider Hall and will consist of a talk, prayer, and reflection. Sr Kathryn will be available to sign her books.
Fr Joe Weber