Today we celebrate the Third Sunday of Lent. As we soon enter the midpoint of Lent, our readings become more uncompromising and candid about how we are to live our lives. Through our Lenten prac- tices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, we must continue to cultivate good habits that will last long after Lent has ended. How is your Lenten journey going?
Next Sunday will be the Fourth Sunday of Lent (Laetare … Rejoice) Sunday. Next weekend’s read- ings focus on reconciliation, forgiveness, and moving forward. Forgiveness is one-sided; one can choose to forgive, but reconciliation requires two people in the act of coming together. God offers us both for- giveness and reconciliation and does not hold our sins against us once we have asked for forgiveness. Are we able to do the same with one another? (It is interesting to note that we will have the Gospel of the Prodigal Son three times this year: next Sunday, on a weekday, and on another Sunday during the Summer!)
I hope you had a nice Saint Patrick’s weekend and Spring Break for our school (as well as the Parkway School District). I’ll say it again: I hope that you are having a good Lent. My trip to Mexico was a great blessing, to spend time with friends, especially two Missionaries who are doing great work in the State of Quntana Roo, as well as friends I’ve gotten to know over the years of going to Mexico … and, in one case, the brother (and his family) of my “Michigan D-A-D”! As I mentioned last week I was able to do a lot of reading, catch up on sleep (10 hours one night and 9 hours two other night), and continue my exercise regimen.
The saddest thing that happened (as I write this on Monday, March 18, so who knows what could happen after this date!) was that on Wednesday, March 13th, two of my best friends from my National Guard days died within hours of each other …. one in Royal Oak, Michigan, and the other in Arnold. Losing both of those fine leaders, both in their early fifties, great husbands, and fathers, is a terrible loss for me. Of course I couldn’t go to the funeral in Michigan, but the family from Arnold was holding off on the funeral until I could return on March 21st (with the funeral the next day, last Friday, March 22nd). My colleague from Michigan will be buried at Jefferson Barracks, so I will be able to preside at the burial ceremony. We have ALL lost not only relatives, and many of you, children or grandchildren, but losing a friend is quite a tragedy for all involved. Please keep me in your prayers during these days of mourning. I was able to talk with both of these men many times a week as they were preparing to meet the Lord and went to see my friend in Arnold a couple of days prior to my trip to Mexico. Thank you for the prayers.
The Feast of the Annunciation: Monday is another “break” from Lent. The SOLEMNITY of the Annunciation, celebrated nine months before Christmas, marks the beginning of our Salvation when Mary, not knowing all the answers, said “YES” to the Archangel Gabriel’s invitation to be the Mother of the Redeemer. We need to be of the mind of Mary. We need to have the humility that she showed while, not knowing all the answers, said “yes” to the messenger from God.
March 25 is a momentous day in the history of the Archdiocese as on that day in 1968 when Archbishop John Carberry was installed as our Archbishop, following the death of Joseph Cardinal Ritter the previ- ous June, and on that day in 1980 when Archbishop John May was installed as our Archbishop, following the resignation of Cardinal Carberry on his 75th birthday, the previous July. With our own Archbishop going to be 75 on June 30 this year we might do well to begin praying for our new Archbishop, whoever he might be.
Certainly Pope Francis doesn’t have to accept the resignation of Archbishop Carlson on June 30, or any time near that date, (for example, the Archbishop of Ottawa was 75 on February 19, and he’s still in office) but the day is coming when we will have a new Archbishop with his own hopes and plans for the future of our great Archdiocese.
Principal Search Committee: Since this is being written on Monday, March 18, there is nothing much new to report. The committee has been meeting since my departure and I’m sure that they will have rec- ommendations for me later this week (perhaps as early as tomorrow). By next weekend we will have a new principal chosen. I want to thank the committee for their diligent work and pray that the recom- mendation made to me will be the best for the future of our school and parish.
New Elevator and Hall Renovation: Again this is written prior to the Finance Committee meeting which will have taken place on Thursday, March 21, immediately after my arrival back from Cancun. “Stay tuned.” That’s really all I can say at this time. We still hope to get the work begun on the Monday after Easter, but that is currently “up in the air.” Please pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance for all the decisions that have to be made. Thank you again.
ACTS RETREAT: There is still room for men to sign up and participate in the Men’s ACTS retreat
to be held April 11-14 at the Pallottine Retreat Center in Florissant. Please prayerfully consider attend- ing the retreat.
March Madness: If you have ever been around me you know that I’m a sports “nut,” not just a fan, but a true “nut.” This is MY time of year. By the time you read this the first two rounds of the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament will have been completed and a good number of the second round will have been played too. Congratulations to the SLU Billikens on the upset of St. Bonaventure last Sunday. What a win! It was extremely exciting to watch! By the time you read this, alas, with their first game again Virginia Tech, their season is most likely over … but they could be the Cinderella team that Loyola University of Chicago was last year! I hope that my alma mater, Michigan State, will still be playing, without another upset by a number 15 seed, like happened here in Saint Louis three years ago when Middle Tennessee State beat my Spartans! Regardless, it is a great time of the year! BUT, don’t forget it is really only a game!
As I’ve already said, please have a blessed and holy Lenten Season. See you at Mass and at Stations of the Cross next Friday afternoon at 2:00 P.M.!
Faithfully yours, Fr Joe Weber