St. Stephen Cathedral Mass
Blessed Sacrament Chapel Mass
Published on February 28th, 2014
I. Day of Public Catholicism: This Wednesday, March 5, is Ash Wednesday, a day when Catholics crowd churches everywhere to celebrate Mass and have ashes smeared upon their foreheads, symbolizing their desire for ongoing spiritual conversion. “Turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel.” Our Ash Wednesday Masses at St. Stephen Cathedral will be at 7:00AM, 12:05 NOON, and 6:00pm.
II. Day of Strict Fast and Abstinence: To fast is to do without food. Its purpose is to experience the effects of not eating. It also serves to be a penance or a sacrifice–for the purpose of strengthening us. When we don’t eat for even a while, we get hungry. When we are hungry, we have a heightened sense of awareness. If, when we eat too much, we have a sluggish feeling, when we fast, we have a feeling of a alertness. Fasting is a wonderful exercise whenever we want to sincerely ask for an important grace from God. On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday we are asked to FAST, which means that what one eats that day equals no more than one full meal and it is a day with no food in between meals.
To ABSTAIN is to not eat meat. Its purpose is to be an act of PENANCE, an act of sacrifice, that helps us grow in freedom to make much bigger sacrifices. Catholics are asked to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and during the Fridays of Lent. For many people today, not eating meat is not a sacrifice; therefore, you are asked to do an additional penance in the spirit of what this discipline is about. Whether it is fasting, abstaining, or other acts of penance, the whole desire we should have is to use these means to help us grow closer to the our Lord and to prepare ourselves “to celebrate the Paschal mystery with minds and hearts renewed” (First Preface of Lent).
III. “Liturgy Is a Time for Entering into the Mystery of God,” according to Pope Francis on February 10, 2014. Reminding people visiting Rome that Mass is not a tourist event/attraction, but “all of you come here, all of us gathered here to enter into a Mystery, which is the liturgy. It is God’s time; it is God’s space; it is God’s cloud that envelops us all.” The Pope said that when Catholics construct a nativity scene, pray the rosary or participate in the Stations of the Cross, they are remembering historical events, which helps them to pray. But the Mass is something different, it is not a reenactment of the Last Supper, he said. “It IS the Last Supper. It is living again the passion and redeeming death of the Lord. It is a theophany: the Lord is present on the altar to be offered to the Father for the salvation of the world.” Pope Francis said it’s not right for people to look at their watches during Mass. “We must put ourselves there in God’s time and space, without looking at our watches! ” I know parishioners at St. Stephen Cathedral would never be looking at their watches during Mass or a homily!
IV. Time, Talent and Treasure Response: This week we hosted training/formation sessions for liturgical ministers for which you have signed up through your stewardship invitation. To date, we have 307 families/households out of a possible 565 who have responded; even if we eliminated shut-ins and those confined to nursing homes, the percentage would be only 60%! A letter is on the way to those who have not responded. We need you. We need every family, every person in the parish. Even if you cannot sign up for a particular ministry at this time, please return your form signed. Remember the story of the widow’s mite!