February 11, 2018 . . .
Ready or not, in the seasons of the Church, Lent begins this week. Personally, it is a challenge to get into the feel of Lent (and Easter) when these times come early, like this year. For centuries, the date of Easter has depended on nature, when the first full moon occurs after the first day of spring. Our challenge, as with so many things in life, is to ask God to help our hearts be receptive to His time to work in our lives, to help us grow in our faith and to receive His blessings. May we all be strengthened and renewed in Lent of 2018.
Registered parishioners should be receiving the latest edition of the Recording Angel newsletter. The newsletter has a calendar of events/activated for the Lent and Easter seasons. In the spirit of the Unleash the Gospel initiative, there are two faith testimonies which can hopefully inspire us in our own faith journeys. If you believe that you are a registered parishioner and did not receive the mailing, please contact us at the office to help us to keep our parish database up to date. Of course, you can always keep abreast of parish life and communications through the weekly bulletin, website, and Facebook.
Remember that in addition to the masses and Scripture services on Ash Wednesday, the church will be open all day from 6:30 am through the evening mass. Parishioners will be in church the whole day to receive visitors, briefly pray with them, and impose ashes. We hope that this open door policy helps more people to have the opportunity to prayerfully enter into the spirit of Lent.
Have you ever done a spiritual journal? For many people, writing down (or typing) spiritual insights has been helpful for spiritual growth. It helps us to be more aware of how God speaks to us in our thoughts, feelings, and desires. The journaling could be done in conjunction with mass, Scripture readings, prayer time, or any time a spiritual awareness comes. Is God calling you to try some spiritual journalism this Lent? Even if you can’t do it every day, it can be very fruitful.
This year we will try something different with the Stations of the Cross devotions, alternating between Thursday afternoons and Friday evenings. I hope that this may give people more options to come, especially those who may not like to go out in the evening. We use different versions of the stations that I personally approve of. Also, being the only clergy in the parish for now, I invite anyone who would like to help lead stations, sharing the ministry with me or others, to contact Lorie Bronson or myself. We would love to have you. This week the stations will be on Friday at 6:30 pm. Please note the earlier time. We will also have the church open for prayer time every Friday of Lent beginning Friday, February 23, even on the days that there are no Friday stations. The Eucharist will be exposed at 2:00 pm, with benediction at 6:00 pm if I or a deacon are available; otherwise, there will be a simple reposition. Please consider joining with others in prayer for the many needs of our human family here on earth, our leaders, our children, the sick and all who are in special need.
If you took one of the books that were given out at Christmas and haven’t had a chance to get to it or didn’t finish it, consider using it as a source of spiritual enrichment during Lent.
The Little Black Books are in church this weekend. An offering of $1.00 is requested but not required to help cover the cost of the booklets, which is actually $.70 per copy. A new Lent spiritual resource that we will offer this year is a weekly special insert that will be in the church bulletin, beginning next Sunday.
Almsgiving opportunities include the annual rice bowl which is made available to all students in the Monroe Catholic schools and faith formation programs. Extra bowls are in church for those who are interested. For adults the Catholic Relief Services envelopes go to the same cause. Envelopes and bowls can be brought to church on Palm Sunday or Holy Thursday.
COLLECTION FOR THE CHURCH IN CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE . . . This weekend, envelopes for the annual collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe are in the pews. These will be taken up in a second collection next weekend. This collection is coordinated by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.