THE SEASON OF SELF DENIAL:
We are about to begin our participation in the annual Paschal Season with the 40 days of preparation for Easter, that we call Lent.
The purpose of Lent is to facilitate our ongoing conversion by inviting us to unite ourselves more closely to the dying and rising of Christ. As Christ gave of himself completely, offering his very life on the cross in order to free us from final death, we are called to imitate him in bringing life to others by “dying” to ourselves.
So, this special season, encourages us to overcome self-concern by self-denial, thus Lent
is traditionally a season of fasting and sacrifice as penance for our sins and as a means of being a blessing to others. Our Lenten fasting cannot ever be fasting for the sake of fasting alone, but should be a fruitful fast in that it enables us to be more generous with others because we have denied ourselves. So, the things we might choose to deny ourselves, perhaps an evening cocktail, a daily stop at the coffee shop, a dinner out, meat, or other luxuries, entertainments or treats, enable us to have more resources to share with others in need.
Thus on Holy Thursday as Lent ends, we will gather with the whole community with whom we have been fasting for 40 days, and bring the fruits of that fast to be offered to God at Mass in the form of money saved by our sacrifices to be given to the charities we have identified as a parish; The St. Vincent de Paul Society, Catholic Relief Services, and the El Tablon Project of Food for the Poor. So, let us discern what it is we are willing to deny ourselves in order that others may better live and by this, unite ourselves to Christ who on the Cross held back not even his life’s breath and blood in order to defeat death and win us the hope of a better life, indeed, eternal life.
THE SIGN OF ASHES:
By a very long and ancient tradition ashes are an outward sign of an inner desire to repent and that is how they should be received, never casually or thoughtlessly, nor out of mere custom and especially not out of superstition.The ashes themselves are only ashes, they have no power to change us, only our inner desire to change and thus our willingness to submit ourselves more wholeheartedly to the workings of the Holy Spirit can accomplish our further conversion. Thus, it is also our tradition that we examine our consciences and confess our sins before receiving the ashes on Ash Wednesday, in order to assure that this outward sign is not an empty one.
Confessions will be heard on Tuesday from 3 to 6 PM in the Church, in preparation for Ash Wednesday. Confessions will be heard on Tuesday from 3 to 6 PM in the Church, in preparation for Ash Wednesday, February 14th Schedule as follows Masses and Word Services 7:00 AM – Word Service 8:30 AM – 12:00 PM – 5:30 PM ~ Masses 7:00 PM – Word Service