My Dear Parishioners:
This week on Wednesday, we begin the Season of Lent. Ash Wednesday calls us to begin our preparation for the greatest liturgical celebration of the year. Many incorrectly believe this greatest day of the year to be Christmas. However, the Church calls us to recognize the greatest day of the year is Easter and the proclamation of Christ’s resurrection from the dead that is proclaimed at the Holy Vigil of Saturday night (the night before Easter Sunday).
This year we have nine people who desire to ‘join our Church’ at the Holy Vigil of Easter. This is a great testament to our faith and example of what it means to be a member of the Holy Catholic Church and the Parish of Christ the King. Many of these individuals are seeking the Sacrament of Baptism. All of them will receive the Sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Eucharist. They become a witness for us.
We begin this season of preparation on March 02, Ash Wednesday with Mass at 7:00 AM & 12:00 PM
It is during this Mass we recall that we are simply ‘dust’ and everything we are and everything we hope to become relies on God. It is during this Mass we all process (Catholic, non-Catholic, elderly, and young) forward to be ‘marked with the sign of our faith’. We boldly stand before the altar of God and recognize our humanity and his divinity. We are marked with the ashes that are from the palm that was burned from last Palm Sunday.
It is during this Mass that we begin to examine our life, our behavior, prayer, speech, and our faith in order that we can begin to change those things that need adjustment in order that our lives more truly reflect God’s way, God’s love, and God’s plan.
Here I suggest the following as possible activities during this holy season.
- Attend Mass at least once during the week
- Pray the rosary
- Pray the Stations of the Cross (Service each Friday at 6:00 PM)
- One night a week, turn off the TV and spend time talking with family members
- Simplify your meals for one day and use the money saved for the poor
- Go through your closet or chest of drawers and gather articles of clothing that have not been worn for more than one year. Take these items to St. Vincent DePaul.
- Bring canned food to the food pantry in parish office
- Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation
- Send a card to a friend who needs encouragement
- Spend one hour in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament (on Fridays)
- Come to Mass on Saturday morning at 9 and then pray before the Blessed Sacrament Exposed
- Apologize to someone you have offended
- Bake something for a ‘shut-in’ or needy family
- Pray together as a family before eating the evening meal
Remember the following rules on Fast and Abstinence holds for our diocese: Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are special days of fasting for all those who are able, between the ages of 18 and 60. These days of fast generally mean that one would take only one full meal, and then other meals should be much less in comparison, with no eating between them. These days are also days of abstinence for all who are able, particularly for those between the ages of 14 and 60. All Fridays during Lent are days of abstinence. Abstinence means that one refrains from eating meat.
It may seem humorous to some of us, but the Church actually calls this a ‘JOYFUL SEASON’. I believe it can indeed be a season of great joy. First, if we enter the Season of Lent with an open mind and the humility that we all have areas of our life that is in need of change, we actively seek to become better people, better Christians, better Catholics. It is no secret, that when we help another, when we rid ourselves of habits that are negative, when we begin or end a day with prayer, when we assist someone in need, we feel better. We become more joyful!
Lent is nothing more than an opportunity to become better. I realize there are still many of you I do not personally know. (FYI: I have learned, however, who sits where and at what Mass. I might not be able to call you by name, but I can tell you where you sit!). I do not know all of you well, but I do know you are good. I do know you are holy. I do know you are generous. I also know we can all be better, more holy, and more generous.
Enter this season with eyes ready to see God’s promise. Enter this season ready to change. Enter this season and offer yourself completely so that come Easter, we will all celebrate more completely God’s sacrifice and love, God’s power over us, and God’s power even over death.
I will offer myself more completely, especially in prayer throughout this season. Be assured much of my prayer is for you, your families, your struggles, and your peace.
Blessings, Fr. John