Lent is quickly approaching - Ash Wednesday is this Wednesday, March 2. I will be burning palms following the 10:00am Mass today (Sunday).
The ashes - taken from these burned palms - placed on our heads are a physical sign of the spiritual journey we embrace every Lent. You should receive soon (or already have received) my Lenten Pastoral letter, which has the full calendar of events in our parish, as well as the Communal Penance schedule for the WI Rapids deanery. Lord, help us to become holy! Help us to follow Your Son during these 40 days of Lent!
Lent is characterized by the three-fold discipline of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. These three have both a personal and a corporate expression. What we do as a Church should be carried over to our individual practices. In this way each person’s spiritual advance benefits the whole Church. And what we do as a parish influences what each person embraces. That is why we provide more opportunities for prayer and publicize the days of fasting and abstinence. And it is why I have decided to designate the loose offertory collection on the 5th Sundays (which happens about four times each year) for external charities: two to pro-life causes and two to the Marian Center. Also, the Good Friday collection goes entirely to assist the Church in the Holy Land. I have always believed that generosity begets generosity. Though support of the local Church (our parish & diocese) should be regular and sacrificial, we should not neglect other needs. Many needs within the Diocese (Seminarian formation, Catholic Charities, etc.) and beyond are supported by our gifts to the Diocesan Annual Appeal. (Indeed, now that by your generosity we have met our target, ALL future contributions to the DAA are returned to us as a rebate.)
Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving: this is what our Lord teaches us. It is the means of conforming our hearts to His. Have a Holy Lent!
May God bless you!