Message from Fr. Charles…

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Season of Lent this Year has come a bit early and it’s already here.

Ash Wednesday is February 14.  Although many people will want to focus on the secular celebration of Valentine’s Day, for Catholics this will be a day of fasting and abstinence.  Fasting limits us to smaller meals, allowing us to feel the pangs of hunger that remind us of the spiritual hunger that only Christ can satisfy. Abstinence requires us to not eat meat.  The Church only asks us to do this two days out of the year – Ash Wednesday and Good FridayHowever, every Friday of Lent we are also required to abstain from eating meat. While there are exceptions for age and health, the Church asks those who are exempt from the dietary regulations to do some act of penance and sacrifice those days – extra prayers, giving to charity, doing a work of mercy.  We are not excused from penitential and sacrificial acts on those days.

Beginning on Thursday February 15, 2024, we will have an additional Mass daily at 6:30a.m except on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. This is being offered for those who can’t attend the normal weekday Masses, to take advantage of attending Mass during Lent in addition to Sunday. We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity.

Stations of the Cross will be every Friday of Lent at 7:00 p.m. led by different groups and ministries. This beloved tradition invites us to follow along with Christ from his condemnation to his burial and along the way meet the many people who helped him, wept for him, and even jeered at him.

On Tuesday March 12, 2024 we will once again join to celebrate a communal penance service at 7:00p.m. This is a wonderful opportunity to take advantage of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and several priests will be available to hear confessions.

Pope Francis in his message of Lent 2024 reflects on the theme: “Through the desert God leads us to freedom”. “God has not grown weary of us.  Let us welcome Lent as the greatest season in which he reminds us: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Ex. 20:2).  “Lent is a time of conversion, a time of freedom”.

This Lent, let us practice more and more the three pillars of Lent: Prayer, Almsgiving and Fasting.  These are not three unrelated acts, but a single movement of openness and self-emptying, in which we cast out the idols that weigh us down, the attachments that imprison us.

Each Lent is different because each year the Lord invites us to enter the desert in a different way, with different challenges and purposes.  For this reason, each one must take this time seriously and personally and thus achieve more spiritual fruits that lead us to live the celebration of paschal mysteries in grace and holiness.

I invite you to participate in the different activities planned by our Faith Formation Office and the Eucharistic Revival Team and all our different groups and Ministries.

May God bless you all this Lent 2024 and pray for peace in the World.

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