Dear Parishioners,

Today we celebrate the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time. This weekend’s readings seem especially pertinent to us living in a climate of sarcasm and insults, offensiveness and bullying, violence and hatred. Sparing — let alone forgiving and loving — one’s perceived enemies, or refusing to judge others is hardly “natural” to most of us. But God sees it differently, and we are faced with the choice of whether we will too. Considering what this requires of us is a good way to enter the immanent season of Lent, beginning in just two weeks.

Next weekend, the weekend before Lent this year, we will celebrate the Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time. On the Sunday before Lent this year, the readings challenge us to be mindful of our thoughts, words, and deeds. They call us to first judge ourselves before we judge others. May God shake us from our sins of apathy and judgment, so as to provide a path to enter more deeply into the Lenten journey before us.

Principal Search: The Search Committee continues its work.  We have over a dozen applicants for the position, some of whom look very promising. The committee will not tarry, but will be actively and aggressively looking for other candidates. Please pray for the committee and a successful outcome for the betterment of our school and parish.

Our 40 Hours Devotion, held last week, went very well. I was impressed with the fidelity of those who signed up to spend time in prayer before our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. While only about 35 attended the opening service with Vespers (Evening Prayer), it was an active group. On Monday around 30 attended the “Praise and Worship” celebration conducted by Kyle Huelsing from Saint Joseph Parish, Cottleville. Even some parishioners were able to attend the closing service, Daytime Prayer and Benediction, on Tuesday afternoon. Weekly Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament resumed Wednes- day, February 20, following the 8:15 A.M. Mass, until the evening when Deacon Jim Martin reposed the Blessed Sacrament at 9:00 P.M. There are sign up sheet for a COMMITMENT to WEEKLY Adoration on Wednesdays available in the MAIN LOBBY of the Church. We still need people to sign up for these times (and they are ONLY half hour slots!): 10:00 A.M., 4:30 P.M., 5:00 P.M., 5:30 P.M., and 6:30 P.M. I find it HARD to believe in a parish our size, with almost 800 households, that we can’t cover just one day a week! AND most of those times only have one person who signed up! PLEASE prayerfully consider spending some time with Jesus, each week. I truly hope that there would be at least two people per period of adoration. Thank you.

Following close upon this will be a PARISH MISSION, directed by Lay Evangelist, and member of Little Flower Parish in Richmond Heights, Mr. Hector Molina. The Mission will be on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, March 3, 4, and 5, just prior to Ash Wednesday, beginning at 7:00 P.M. I hope you are praying for the Mission and its success … and a new way of spreading the gospel to our parish and area! There is a FULL PAGE about the Mission here in this week’s bulletin. We are truly blessed to have Hector as the director of our Mission. If you notice the three themes: The Call to Discipleship, the Call to Holiness, and the Call to Mission. These are three extremely important calls for each of us as we enter the Lenten Season. Each night there will be books and other items for sale. There will also be a “free will” offering for the Mission. I hope and pray that you will attend. Hector will be speaking briefly at each of the Masses next weekend seeking your attendance!

Stewardship: This is not just a “fancy name for tithing!” Stewardship is really a way of life. A way to return to the Lord a portion of all the things that He has given us. We are a little late this year with seeking your intention cards for financial stewardship (treasure). Next weekend members of our parish will be speaking about the joys of financial stewardship. As we are in the process of getting our 2019-2020 budget put together, we need to have an idea as to how much income to expect. For example, as of January 31, 2019, offertory (including on line donations) is down $55,338 (-5.7%) year to date over prior year (June 2017 – January 2018). Offertory is $13,931 (-1.5%) less than budget year to date. I pray that ALL of us will do our share. Please note the mailing that hopefully will be going out this week. Thank you for your generous gifts … especially the wonderful outcome for the Parish Auction, the amount raised for the Fr. Burghoff scholarship fund, Birthright, your continued support of the Annual Catholic Appeal, and the tremendous support given to the parish for the “RRR” capital campaign! BUT we need the money for the “normal bills” that come up to keep all of our ministries going! Thank you!

New Elevator lobby and elevator: This past Thursday, February 21, there was a meeting here with various general contractors who are being asked to bid on the new elevator lobby, elevator, and hall renovation. I will have a report on that meeting next week. Please pray that when the bids come in they will be in line with our estimates!

Cemetery expansion: We had an initial meeting the other day to discuss the removal of the convent and the expansion of our cemetery. Because of the age of the convent there is probably asbestos in the building. We will have that checked. After that happens we can start to think about the demoli- tion of the convent. THEN we will be able to plot out new graves and come up with a space for a columbarium for cremains. It will take some time, but it is our desire to have all of the plans com- pleted no later than July 1, the beginning of the next fiscal year.

PALMS to ASHES: There are containers in the lobbies of church for you to return the palm from last year’s Palm Sunday that will be burned to make ashes for Ash Wednesday. Weather permitting (no snow, rain, or heavy wind) they will be burned Monday, March 4, 2019, at 2:30 P.M., with our school children attending. All are, of course, invited to attend. We will gather near the “flag pole” at the West Entrance to school.

FAT TUESDAY LUNCHEON March 5, 2019. Information is elsewhere in the bulletin. PLEASE MAKE YOUR RESERVATION TODAY! Thank you!

The FAREWELL TO THE ALLELUIA prayer service will take place in CHURCH on Tuesday, March 5, at 2:00 P.M. This is a custom originally from Europe and brought to the Saint Louis area by Msgr. Martin Hellriegel. The Sisters in O’Fallon still do it and Msgr. Nicholas Schneider (and the Precious Blood Sisters) brought it here to Saint Monica. While all the school children will be attending, all members of the parish are invited.

Many things are happening here at Saint Monica. May we pray for each other! Faithfully yours,

Fr Joe Weber