Dear Parishioners,

This weekend we celebrate 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 this weekend, as we celebrate the First Sunday of Lent, may we pray for the strength to resist temptation and for God’s mercy when we fall.

Next weekend we will celebrate the Second Sunday of Lent. Each year on the Second Sunday of Lent there is one of the passages about the Transfiguration of Jesus. This year it is from Saint Matthew.  (Be sure you look at the beautiful Stained Glass window of the Transfiguration, located on the SOUTH side of our church.) During this penitential season we are called to make a conscious effort to avoid sin and be faithful to the gospel, as we heard on Ash Wednesday. Next weekend we will hear Saint Matthew’s account of Jesus climbing a high mountain on which He is transfigured in front of His closest disciples. Whether isolated in the wilderness, as we heard on the first Sunday of Lent, or accompanied by friends on a mountaintop, Jesus remains faithful to the will of God. May He be a model for us and may we respond faithfully!

The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network: As I have told you several times the Apostleship of Prayer has stopped producing the monthly (and yearly) leaflets with the Pope’s recommended intention for the month. The Pope’s Intention for the month of March is: Catholics in China We pray that the Church in China may persevere in its faithfulness to the Gospel and grow in unity. Each month there is a reflection on the theme. Here is that reflection:

China is the largest country by population in the world with 1.4 billion people. The percentage of Catholics is less than 0.1%. Living under strict restriction with little religious freedom, however, the Catholic community has shown incredible perseverance and vitality, who tried their best to keep communion with the universal Church by suffering all difficulties and persecutions. During the Easter of 2018, there were about 48,00 baptized. Young Catholics in China seek all means to deepen their faith and are actively present in the Church.

Just by reading news (which is often imbalanced), outsiders hardly understand the real situation of the Church in China. The often dualistic description of the Chinese church as “underground” and “official” is not only too simplistic but also very harmful. As Pope Benedict XVI clearly emphasized, there is only one Church in China, though it may exist in two ways due to certain very complicated reasons. The majority of both are living under persecution and yet remain faithful. The conflicts within the Church have created great confusion for believers and caused severe obstacles for evangelization. Pope Francis passionately invites the universal Church to pray for the church in China, that it may be more Catholic (united) and more Chinese at the same time.

I know that the recent agreement between the Vatican and China has had a lot of press. Please pray that Catholics (and all people of faith) may be able to practice their faith in the Peoples’ Republic of China. Many churches are still being closed and even torn down. Pray for Catholics in China during the month of March. Thank you.

Dr Marie Kremer: Our former Director of Liturgical Music died on Sunday, January 19, 2020. Because of her family being out of town her Memorial Mass (she donated her body for medical research at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine), will be on Saturday, March 7, 2020, next Saturday, at 11:00 A.M. at Most Holy Trinity Church, 3519 North 14th Street, in North Saint Louis.  (This notice is also listed elsewhere in the bulletin.)

We HOPE to have a Mass here, too, in the future. She was such an important part of this parish for so many years, it is appropriate to celebrate her memory here, too. “Stay tuned.”

A reminder that we have Stations of the Cross at 2:00 P.M. each Friday during Lent. When school is in session the Stations will be led by our School Children. (This coming Friday, Deacon Dane Westhoff will be leading the Stations.)

Sacrament of Reconciliation: We have the Sacrament of Penance available every Saturday after- noon 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 on Monday, March 23, at 1:00 P.M., primarily for our Grade School Students, Wednesday, March 25, at 7:00 P.M., primarily for our 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade PSR students (and families), and on April 1, also at 7:00 P.M., for the rest of the PSR and the ENTIRE PARISH COMMUNITY. I will also have confessions avail- able on Saturday, April 4, 2020, from 11:00 A.M. until 1:00 P.M., on Wednesday of Holy Week, April 8, from 9:00 A.M. until finished, and on Good Friday, April 10, following Morning Prayer, again, un- til finished. On Holy Saturday there will be practice for the Easter Vigil following Morning Prayer. The Sacrament of Penance will be available around 10:00 A.M., again, until finished. NO CONFES- SIONS ON HOLY SATURDAY AFTERNOON.

The RITE OF SENDING: We have a very active RCIA this year, being run primarily by Deacon Carl Sommer. At the 9:30 A.M. Mass today we will “send” our Catechumens (who will become “the Elect”) and our Candidates to the Cathedral for a special service of the Rite of Election (for our Cate- chumens) and the Call to Continuing Conversion (for our Candidates), which will be at 2:30 P.M. this afternoon at the Cathedral. Our Catechumens, those who will be baptized on Holy Saturday, April 11th, during the Easter Vigil, are: Joseph Ryan Busso, Ceriana Olivia Davis, Benjamin Ryan Hill, David Pickett, Grant Pickett, and Lucy Pickett. (All will also receive their First Holy Communion and Confirmation.) Our Candidates for Reception into Full Communion, including their First Holy Communions, and Confirmations, are: Michael Joseph Aux-Tinee, Claire Elizabeth Dinwiddie, Reed Michael Lunsford, Mary Frances Pickett, and Cameron Tyler Toal. Please pray for these soon to be new members of our parish family, their own families, and their sponsors.

Stewardship: Next weekend we will have lay witness talks at the Masses about our annual Steward- ship Campaign, of TALENT, TIME, and TREASURE. Please be attentive to these parishioners’ talks. On Monday, March 9, the annual forms will be mailed to each registered parishioner. Thank you.

Have a blessed Lenten Season,

Fr Joe Weber