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 Lenten Frame of Mind 

Dear Parish Family,

This weekend we are holding a Fat Sunday Supper to express our heartfelt appreciation for all of our volunteers. “It takes a village to raise a child,” and it takes hundreds of dedicated and trained volunteers to make parish life happen. Moreover, these myriad opportunities for service are beautiful ways to live the faith, in our little corner of the world, as I like to say. Some have remarked that they cannot remember the last appreciation dinner. With your help, I would like to make the dinner an annual affair.

The designation “Fat Sunday” means that Lent is quickly approaching. This Wednesday Lent begins with the tradition of ashes (see Jonah 3:6). Ashes are a sign of repentance, an admission of guilt, and the need for mercy. Ashes are the status symbol only of sinners, those who admit they have fallen short of walking in the ways of the Lord. The best way to acknowledge our status as sinners… come to Confession. Seek out Reconciliation and the beautiful Sacrament of God’s Mercy. Lent affords our people an opportunity to be healed sacramentally, which ashes do not. Wednesday evenings from 6pm to 8pm, all throughout the month of March, Confessions will be heard in church!

So what of the rest of Lent? Besides ashes and Confession, how will your Lent draw you closer into the loving arms of God and so help you to grow in more faithful and courageous discipleship? The Gospel on Ash Wednesday reminds us that the standard recipe is prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Lent is not just about giving up but about doing more; and it is not just more is better. But it is more of what matters to God, more of life for others; perhaps that requires a trimming down of time misspent: video games, YouTube, or hours of TV.

Reading a good spiritual book for Lent can make a great difference, but also setting aside time everyday for prayer. Daily prayer with the Lord. Fasting could be from foods we like, or it could include eating foods we do not like. We could fast from negative comments, or always needing to have the last word. We can fast from the snooze button. But prayer and fasting ought to arrive at a more generous charity; that’s what the saints teach us. Prayer and fasting are good, but they should impact the way we live our lives in love, in other words, our charity.

I cannot state enough the value of the Annual Catholic Appeal. If you have not yet made a gift, please prayerfully consider supporting the many good works our diocese carries out. It is a beautiful way for our alms to go further. “God gives where he finds empty hands,” as Saint Augustine taught. We strive to follow his example. And when we make our goal, the parish receives funds to assist us in our mission, to build the kingdom of God in this little corner of the world.

May God bless you for your goodness!

Fr. Joel Wilson  

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