I. Day of Public Catholicism: This Wednesday, February 18, is Ash Wednesday, a day when Catholics crowd churches around the world to receive ashes on their foreheads, symbolizing their desire for ongoing conversion. The Ash Wednesday Mass schedule at St. Stephen Cathedral is: 7:00am, noon Mass, 6:00pm. There is also a Mass at Blessed Sacrament Chapel at 5:30pm.
II. Day of Strict Fast & Abstinence: On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday our Church asks Catholics to FAST, which means that what we eat all day, equals no more than one full meal. To ABSTAIN means not to eat meat. This discipline of not eating meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and the Fridays during Lent is to be an act of penance, an act of sacrifice that helps us grow spiritually in freedom. For many Catholics today (Including myself), not eating meat (I love seafood!) is not a sacrifice! Hence, we are asked to do an additional penance in the spirit of this discipline.
III. Stations of the Cross: This devotion has evolved over time. Tradition holds that our Mother Mary visited daily, the scenes of our her Son’s passion. After Constantine legalized Christianity in the year 312, this pathway was marked with its important stations. St. Jerome (342-420), living in Bethlehem during the later part of his life, attested to the crowds of pilgrims from various countries who visited those holy places and followed the Way of the Cross.
Since Lent is a penitential season of preparation for Easter, the Stations of the Cross, which follow the path of Christ from Pontius Pilate’s praetorium to Christ’s tomb, have become a popular devotion in parishes. In the 16th century, this pathway was officially entitled the “Via Dolorosa” (Sorrowful Way) or simply, Way of the Cross or Stations of the Cross.
During the Lenten season, St. Stephen Cathedral will lead Stations of the Cross every Wednesday after the noon Mass, and every Friday at 6:00pm. The Friday Stations will be followed by a lite bite to eat. Of course, the Stations of the Cross devotion may be prayed individually in church, in your home, or anywhere else at anytime!
IV. Children’s Envelopes: Currently, St. Stephen Cathedral is spending $1376 each year to have children’s envelopes printed and sent to their homes. Only 40 out of 173 of our young people are using their envelopes to tithe. This calendar year, we will spend $370 to print the names of the 40 who have been using the envelopes, and to have other boxes of envelopes available to parents who choose to teach their children to “give back” to the Church from their abundance each Sunday.
V. The 4th Annual Catholic Men’s Conference of Western Kentucky last Saturday at St. Stephen Cathedral was inspiring to me, as I witnessed 320 men+ crowd into our church to listen to nationally recognized lay leaders, Matt Fradd and Hector Molina, passionately speak about The Call of Men to be Spiritual Leaders, the Lure of Pornography, Biblical Wisdom for Husbands and Fathers, and Seven Habits of Highly Effective Catholics, etc. A huge THANK YOU to the CMCWK’s Board of Directors, especially those from our parish: Mike Sullivan, John Kurtz, Randy Clemens, Jerry Kuntz, Raymond Purk, and Matt Fitzgerald. Grazie!
In Joy and Hope,