Forty Days of Honesty

02-23-2020Pastor's LetterFather Gregory Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Into the desert, with Christ, we go. The holy season of Lent arrives this week with the celebration of Ash Wednesday. There is something special about Lent as we embark upon a deep, honest reflection about the state of our spiritual lives. Alone it’s hard, but together as the Body of Christ, we find the strength to go deeper.

First, some basic reminders: All Catholics over the age of 14 onwards abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent. (That’s right folks, there’s no upper age exemption for abstinence from meat!) Also, Catholics from the age of 18 to 59 fast at least on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The Church defines this fast as one full meal for the day, as well as two smaller portions were taken for strength that together is not equal to a full meal. (Those for whom fasting is not advisable are exempt. Such people should look for other ways to do equivalent penance.)

“Remember that you are dust and to dust, you shall return.”

With these traditional words, we are marked on our foreheads with ashes. Keeping in mind our eventual death, we realize that now is the time to repent. Ashes will be distributed during Masses at 7am, 12 noon, 5:30pm, and in Spanish at 7pm. Please note that all Masses are in the church – 138 Fairfield St. SE.

This year we plan to start Lent off right with our Parish Mission and a Forty Hours Eucharistic devotion. What better way to start off than to focus on Jesus, truly and substantially present in the Most Blessed Sacrament! At the end of the 5:30pm Mass on Ash Wednesday, we will form a Procession to Old Saint Mary’s where we will begin the Mission. The Mission will continue on Thursday with Mass at 5:30pm followed by confessions and our second talk. On Friday Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3pm; Mass at 5:30pm; and the final talk follows. We will close out the Forty Hours and the Mission with a final Eucharistic Procession and Benediction.

We are blessed to have as our Mission presenter Elizabeth Ficocelli. Elizabeth hosts her own radio program, “Answering The Call,” in which she interviews priests, deacons and religious about their spiritual journeys. In addition to her speaking and media work, Elizabeth is a best-selling, award-winning author of fifteen books for adults and young people as well as having authored numerous Catholic magazine articles.

Finally, just a reminder about cold and flu viruses and receiving from the chalice. In receiving Holy Communion, one receives the entire Christ – Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity – from even the smallest part of the consecrated species. Many people worry about becoming sick by drinking from the chalice at Mass. For literally hundreds of years, we only distributed Holy Communion under the form of the Consecrated Host. If you are concerned about catching a virus, you do not need to receive from the chalice. Also, if you are sick or even suspect you might be, please refrain from the chalice as well.

Have a happy and healthy Lent. – Father Wilson