Here comes Lent!

03-03-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

Believe it or not, this Wednesday is Ash Wednesday – the beginning of the Holy Season of Lent. Masses will be offered in our Church that day at 6:45 and 8:00 AM and at 12:10, 5:00, and 7:00 PM. Ashes will be blessed and distributed at all those Masses.

There are several ways of looking at Lent. Some people see it simply as a time of penance. We give up treats we like to show that we are sorry for our sins and want to do better in the future. This is a good way of looking at Lent.

Other people look at Lent as a time to do something extra for God. They go to Daily Mass or practice extra charity as a way of going the extra mile for God during this holy season. This is also a good way of looking at Lent.

I personally think that it's best to see Lent as a little of both. It is indeed a time of penance – but also a time for spiritual growth. This means that we make the most of Lent by both repenting of sin and doing something extra for God!

To help you do this, our parish is doing several things this Lent. We will hold a series called Lenten Wednesdays on the Wednesdays of Lent at 7 PM. Every Wednesday a different priest or deacon will expose the Blessed Sacrament, preach a Lenten homily, and give Benediction. The schedule of celebrants and topics can be found elsewhere in this bulletin. I encourage everyone to attend at least one – if not all – of these evenings.

The Lenten Wednesday on March 20 will be a special Parish Night of Awakening. It will include special preachers from the diocese, music, Confession, and Adoration and Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament. I'll give you more details as it gets closer. For now, I'd ask you to make plans to attend! We will – of course – pray the Stations of the Cross in Church every Friday of Lent at 3 and 7 PM. Stations will also be prayed in the Church at 7 PM on Tuesdays in Spanish. Praying the Stations of the Cross is a great way to remember what Jesus did for us on Good Friday – and to do something extra for Him!

Next Sunday we will distribute a book called Signs of Life. Written by a well-known convert to Catholicism, this book will give you a deeper understanding of many things we do and use as Catholics – from Holy Water to candles to Sacraments. It is easy to read, too. I hope every family will take and read it this Lent.

Rice Bowls will be distributed as a means of helping us practice charity this Lent. As usual, I encourage every family to take one and fill it up this Lent. A good way to do this is to put spare change in it each day – or to eat a simple meal once a week this Lent and put the money saved in the Rice Bowl for the poor.

Confessions will be heard every Saturday during Lent – and extra Confessors will be assigned to help hear them. Additionally, we will have a Lenten Penance Service on Monday, April 1 at 7 PM. At least 10 priests will be here to help hear Confessions that evening, making it a good time to repent of your sins this Lent.

My hope is that everyone will take advantage of these opportunities to repent of our sins and do something extra for God this Lent. Indeed, let's all resolve to make this the best Lent of our lives – so that we can celebrate Jesus' resurrection this Easter with our faith renewed and re-energized!!

Have a great week!
Fr. John

P.S. Next week I will introduce a special program for those who wish to make a personal consecration to Our Lady of Guadalupe this Lent – which I hope many of us will!