Dear Parishioners,

Today we celebrate, on the weekend before Lent, 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.

Next weekend will be the First Sunday of Lent. Trust. Trouble. Temptation. The Israelites remem- bered and trusted in God’s constant, guiding presence and gave back to God the first fruits of the land. The psalmist trusted God would be present in times of trouble. Jesus survived temptation in the desert, only by trusting in God. In whom or in what do we place our trust when we are troubled and tempted? Parish Mission: We welcome Mr. Hector Molina to our parish for the Special Pre-Lenten Mission to be held Sunday – Tuesday, beginning at 7:00 P.M. There is a full page about the Mission farther back in this bulletin.

New Elevator lobby and elevator: This a week ago Thursday, on 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. Pray that when the bids come in they will be in line with our estimates! There is much to be done in preparation for the expansion of our church and renovation of our Parish Hall. Accordingly, I’m asking that at least one representative from each organization, especially if you have a “storage closet” in the basement of church, to attend a meeting next Wednesday evening, Ash Wednesday, AFTER the 7:00 P.M. Mass, so around 8:00 P.M., in the Church Hall to talk about what has to be done prior to any construction. We are hoping to begin work Monday, April 22, 2019, the day after Easter. Thank you.

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.

Lent begins Wednesday! As usual the Archdiocese has sent out the “Lenten Regulations.”

ARCHDIOCESAN LENTEN REGULATIONS:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16-17)

The Church has always helped us fulfill these words of Jesus by prescribing very definite penance for all Catholics, so that we too might have Eternal life. Accordingly, the Pope and the

American Bishops have outlined obligatory fast and abstinence as follows:

Ash Wednesday (Wednesday, March 6, 2019) and Good Friday (April 19, 2019) are days of abstinence for all Catholics over the age of 14. 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.

All Fridays in Lent are days of abstinence from meat. Here again Catholics will not hold them- selves lightly excused, but if there is a serious health problem, this obligation would not apply.

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.

—– Living the Eucharist Lenten program: http://www.livingtheeucharist.org/.

—– Best Lent Ever daily reflections from Dynamic Catholic: http://dynamiccatholic.com/bestlentever/#signup

—– USCCB: http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year/lent/prayer-resources- for-lent.cfm

Of course we have already provided (and many are still available again this weekend) the “little book” from the Diocese of Saginaw. Simple, yes, but can be very profound!

PALMS to ASHES: Many of you have already turned in previous year’s palms. Weather permitting they will be burned on Monday, March 4, 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 will be held again this year: Tuesday, March 5th. There is more information elsewhere in the bulletin. Our speaker is from Missouri Right to Life. Please consider attending. “Fat Tuesday,” “Mardi Gras”: March 5th. TIME: 11:50 A.M. Place: Msgr. Schneider Hall (Church Basement).

The FAREWELL TO THE ALLELUIA little prayer service will take place in CHURCH Tuesday, March 5th, 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 attend- ing, all are invited.

Our Masses Ash Wednesday, which is NOT A HOLYDAY OF OBLIGATION, will be at 6:30 A.M., 8:15 A.M. (with our school students attending), 12:10 P.M., and 7:00 P.M. (with our PSR students attending). As mentioned elsewhere, there is a special collection in Ash Wednesday for the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches, especially those in the Middle East, as well as Eastern Europe. Thank you for your generosity. Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament will be suspended from 12:00 noon until 1:00 P.M. on Ash Wednesday and will conclude at 6:00 P.M. on Ash Wednesday. (No Exposition AFTER the 7:00 P.M. Mass Ash Wednesday.)

Stations of the Cross will be prayed each Friday afternoon at 2:00 P.M., from March 8 – April 12. On Good Friday, April 19, Stations of the Cross will be at 3:00 P.M. Incarnate Word Parish has Stations following their Fish Fry, at 7:00 P.M. each Friday of Lent.

Beginning on Monday, March 18, Morning Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours, the official “prayer book” of the Church will be prayed each Lenten morning (Monday – Saturday) at 7:45 A.M. By joining us we pray with the entire church, the Pope, Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Religious, Seminarians, and many lay people throughout the world. (Deacon Jim Martin will be out of town until then. Each other morning the Rosary will be prayed before the 8:15 A.M. Mass.)

Have a very fruitful and prayerful Lenten Season. Faithfully yours,

Fr Joe Weber