Dear Parishioners,
Today we observe the Fifth Sunday of Lent, formerly known as Passion Sunday. As Lent
progresses, we come closer to the heart and meaning of the Gospel: that Jesus must suffer and
die for new life to happen. There is nothing here about rules, practices, theological formulae or
perfection. Jesus embraced what is painful and frightening to achieve life on our behalf. Those
of us who call ourselves Christian must be willing to walk the same road.
Next weekend we will observe Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord. We will open this
most Holy Week continuing the theme of the cost of faithful obedience and the reality of suffering.
It is easy to be enamored with the concept of love, but the truth is that love is costly. Revelation is
the story of God’s great love for us. Next weekend, we will remember the cost of that love in
Jesus’ passion and death, and we ask ourselves where we fit in all of this. The answer is profoundly
humbling, no matter who we are.
More on the Special Seminar on March 24: The Conversation: A Catholic Perspective on
End-of-Life Issues. Next Saturday is the deanery-wide seminar covering Catholic end of life
issues. This free seminar will take place at Ascension Parish in Chesterfield on Saturday, March 24,
from 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. Lunch will be provided. You can learn about the Church’s teaching
on many important issues related to the end of life. The event will include discussion of Catholic
bioethics, Catholic funeral and cemetery planning, and estate and charitable gift planning. Speakers
will include Father Donald Henke, professor of Moral Theology at Kenrick Seminary and Pastor of
Saint Joseph Parish, in Neier, near Union. There will also be a local Catholic estate attorney giving
a presentation. This event is presented by the Roman Catholic Foundation of Eastern Missouri.
Please reserve your place online by visiting the Foundation’s website
Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord. Next Sunday palm will be blessed at all the Masses,
observing the “solemn entrance” at all but the 9:30 A.M. At the 9:30 Mass, weather permitting,
we will gather outside the Church and process in with the palms. The Mass will continue with the
Passion According to Saint Mark. All of the Holy Week schedule, including additional times for
the Sacrament of Penance, will be available in next week’s bulletin.
Our Parish Lenten Penance Service, along with Saint Richard’s, will be here at Saint
Monica tomorrow, Monday, March 19, the Feast of Saint Joseph!, beginning at 7:00 P.M. We will
have a number of priests here to assist you in receiving the Sacrament. There will be other times
as we get closer to Easter (besides our normal time from 3:30 – 4:30 P.M. each Saturday afternoon).
If it has been “a while” since you received the Sacrament of Penance, please consider attending the
Penance Service on Monday, March 19th. The entire schedule for Holy Week, including additional
times for Confessions, will be in next Sunday’s Bulletin.
Pilgrimage to the Holy Land: Several people have asked me to take another pilgrimage to the
Holy Land. I am happy to announce that plans have been made to go to the Holy Land January 18 –
27 (a Friday through a Sunday, over the Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday weekend). The cost will
be $3330. We will be staying at the Franciscan Guest House on the Mount of the Beatitudes and the
Notre Dame Center in Jerusalem. Mass in the Holy Sepulchre is scheduled. I have brochures if you
might be interested in going. Just pray for peace in Jerusalem, as generations have done! Thank you.