Dear Friends in Christ:
A blessed First Sunday in Lent…did you come to Mass on Ash Wednesday and think you heard something missing? Did you notice the opening prayer was missing one word? It was! You are not just thinking it, you are correct!
It seems that the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments at the Vatican pointed out that the current translation of the opening prayers in our current Missal which reads “Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever” is incorrect. There is no mention of “one” in the Latin, and “Deus” refers to Christ. Therefore the correct translation, which is already reflected in the Missal in other languages is simply: “Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.” This is more faithful to the Latin text and helps to reminds us all that Jesus is God!
LENT! Well the Holy Season of Lent has begun this past Wednesday with the celebration of Ash Wednesday. First, and foremost, my gratitude to all the volunteers who helped throughout the day to ensure we provided a safe and sanitized environment for our parishioners to celebrate and mark the beginning of this holy season. It was amazing to see so many people coming to the church once again! It really worked out well between the Masses and the open hours for ashes! Thank you to our amazing volunteers who do so much to help throughout this pandemic.
As I continue to pray with our theme for Lent this year, want more? #madeformore #turntochrist, it dawned on me how much this theme really is speaking to me. Yes we, the Pastoral Staff, prayed about and discerned a theme for the parish and this is our normal process for Advent and Lent but this question, want more?, just really speaks to my heart this year!
Yes I want more! I have wanted more for eleven months! And truth be told I have wanted more even longer than that.
What more do I want? I want the hope of Lent. Yes you heard me right. There is hope in Lent. The greatest hope of Lent is the discovery that it’s not only about penance, deprivation, spiritual struggles, and rooting out sin in our lives, as these are often just the things or the actions we do during Lent. But the hope of Lent, that I really want more of in my life, lies in what God does in us, for us, and through us. Lent is that time for us to discover the extraordinary in the ordinary, to be surprised by the mercy of God at work in our lives bringing about the changes we need within ourselves to truly be faithful disciples. That is the true hope of Lent: that Lent will prepare us to truly heed His call and turn to Christ!
One of the Prefaces we use at the altar in Lent, the prayer before the Eucharistic Prayer, reminds us so clearly, “for you have given your children a sacred time for the renewing and purifying of their hearts, that, freed from disordered affections, they may so deal with the things of this passing world so to hold rather to the things that eternally endure.”
Lent, then, is a time for us to get back on the right path. A time for us to abstain from those things that pull us away from God and His peace and mercy, and to practice those which bring us to experience His presence in our lives. That is why we focus so much in these six weeks of Lent on the practices of increased prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. These three practices, or Lenten disciplines, call us to renew our relationship with Christ.
Lent, ultimately, is all about fasting and feasting, disciplining ourselves so that we can experience life in its fullness.
If you haven’t chosen something to fast from, here is a list of practical every day things to fast from and corresponding things to feast on which I have shared in the past but think still good to consider:
Fast from complaining and feast on appreciation. Fast from judging others and feast on Christ within others. Fast from idle gossip and feast on purposeful silence. Fast from anger and feast on forgiveness. Fast from discouragement and feast on hope. Fast from worry and feast on trusting God. Fast from unrelenting pressures and feast on unceasing prayer. Fast from emphasizing the differences and feast on the unity of life. Fast from thoughts of illness and feast on the healing power of God.
Fast from a sour face and feast on smiles. Fast from bitterness and feast on laughing. Fast from depression and feast on joy!
This list strikes a nerve with all of us because when we read it we realize there is more we can do to become the people God is calling us to be. We realize quickly that we are indeed works in progress. We were made for more! But we also realize that we waste so much energy on complaining, judging, gossip, anger, and all these other things listed above that would be better spent on becoming people of appreciation, forgiveness, hope, and joy! I am going to pick one from above and work on it this week in my own life, will you?
Let us all see Lent as a journey of conversion, prayer, and sharing. If we do then, as a community of believers and as individuals, we will be renewed in faith, hope, and love. If we truly enter into the spirit of the season seeking to be renewed, seeking to fill those longings in our hearts, then we will turn to Christ and recognize that the more we want is found in and through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Then Lent will have been a journey and not just a season we went through. Let’s make this journey together!
We want you to share with us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter how this pandemic has helped you realize that the longing in your heart was what made you realize you want more! What have you longed for these past months? Share it with us using the hashtags on the banner above or email your thoughts to us, and we can post them for you (with your name or anonymous, whichever you choose.) Your posts may help someone else realize that they are made for more too!
JOIN US THIS LENT:
JOIN US TODAY, Sunday, February 21st, for another opportunity for Drive-Thru Communion! We are pleased to be offering another opportunity for our virtual parishioners!
It is as safe as we can possibly make it. You don’t even need to leave the car! Enter the Church Campus from the Main Street entrance and follow the signs around the Church. These signs will guide you through some preparation prayers, then to a station where Father Federico and I will be, one on each side of the car. Roll down the windows and receive the Holy Eucharist. Please be sure to consume Holy Communion before pulling away from us…then pull forward to do your prayer of thanksgiving and be on your way!
JOIN US EVERY Tuesday of Lent from 5-6PM for Drive-Up Confessions! As we do every Saturday from 3PM until heard, Father Federico and I will be present in front of the school building for you to drive-up and celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation! What a great way to experience God’s mercy during this holy season!
JOIN US THIS Tuesday, February 23rd at 6PM, for a Lenten Evening of Reflection. Kelly Henderschedt, Archdiocesan Director of Catechesis, will be with us to reflect on The Valley of the Dry Bones: what to do when your spirituality has gone dry! Kelly has been a presenter here before for some of our Parenting Circle Ministry evenings and she is a dynamic and inspiring speaker. Don’t miss out!
JOIN US ON FRIDAYS DURING LENT FOR STATIONS OF THE CROSS! Signup through our website to join us each Friday of Lent for Stations of the Cross at 7PM. The Stations of the Cross are a beautiful way to reflect on the Passion and Death of our Savior Jesus Christ and to come to appreciate the great suffering He endured for our salvation!
JOIN US on our Social Media on Wednesdays and Fridays during Lent as your pastoral staff and fellow parishioners share with us their own little “desert experience.” During the Lenten journey as we reflect on how we WANT MORE in life, and we come to recognize our need to TURN TO CHRIST, finding that place in our lives where we can have a desert experience in prayer is so crucial. I am sure we will all grow as we learn from the experience of others!
JOIN US in the Corporal Works of Mercy! This is always such a powerful way for us as a family of faith to reach out to others with the mercy and love of God and to fulfill the call of Pope Francis to be instruments of mercy in the lives of others. NEXT WEEKEND we will Give drink to the thirsty by bringing beverage donations for the clients, our neighbors, at the Cheshire Community Food Pantry. Thank you for caring for our neighbors in need!
As always, please remember to pray for our parish family and ask God’s blessings as we build His kingdom here. Please know that I am praying for you, and I ask for your prayers for me, that together through the intercession of Saint Bridget of Sweden, our Patroness, and Blessed Father Michael J. McGivney, and united in the Eucharist, we will reflect the presence of Jesus to the world.