Off to a Good Start!

02-28-2021From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

Lent is off to a good start in our parish. The circumstances created by the pandemic and weather made it impossible for the usual number of people to come to Church on Ash Wednesday. But it was great to see as many people as there were.

Attendance at Stations of the Cross on the first Friday of Lent was likewise affected by the seemingly never ending snow. But a faithful, if smaller than usual, group was there. Remember that we will have Stations of the Cross in English every Friday this Lent at 3:00pm and 7:00pm in Church, and on Tuesday evenings in Spanish.

Included in this weekend’s bulletin is an Examination of Conscience. It is based on the Ten Commandments and should help you prepare to make a good Confession this Lent. We will have two confessors on duty every Saturday of Lent from 9-9:30am and 3:15-4:15pm.

While it can be hard to go to Confession, all the great saints advise us to do so. Speaking about receiving God’s forgiveness in Confession, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton said: “I felt as if chains were lifted off of my body by an angel.” St. Thomas Aquinas compared going to Confession with going to the doctor: “If you are sick, you need to see the doctor, who gives you medicine. When our soul is sick with sin, we see the doctor, who is the priest, who gives us the medicine, which is the grace of God that comes in the Sacrament of Penance.”

One of my favorites is St. John Vianney, the patron saint of priests. He was such a good confessor that people came to his confessional from far and wide. St. John, who willingly spent hours a day hearing Confessions, has some beautiful things to say about this sacrament. “God makes greater speed to save a penitent sinner than a mother makes to snatch her child from the fire. My children, when you go to Confession you must know what it is you do, you ‘unnail our Lord.”

Perhaps meditating on some of these beautiful thoughts can, along with an Examination of Conscience, help you prepare to make a good Confession this Lent.

On the good news front, we should be back in Church for Holy Mass next weekend. I am so happy about this, and I’m sure you are, too. Thanks for your patience while we celebrated Holy Mass in Mercy Hall, and for the generosity that made it possible for us to repair and repaint our Church. May it serve us well for many years!

Elsewhere in this bulletin is the schedule for the upcoming Saint Joseph Novena. I hope that those of you who are able to do so will take part in it. If you cannot come in person and would like to pray the novena at home just call the parish office and we’ll be happy to give you a copy.

Taking part in the Novena during this year of Saint Joseph can gain one an indulgence. Fulfilling the usual conditions, being in a state of grace, being free from attachment to sin, praying the novena prayers, going to Confession, receiving Holy Communion, and saying a prayer for the Holy Father’s intentions within a reasonable time frame (about 20 days before or after the novena) can gain one a Plenary Indulgence. In fact, one can gain up to one Plenary Indulgence a day, which can be offered for any soul or for oneself. Offering an indulgence for the soul who most needs it is a great act of spiritual charity that will gain you a friend in Heaven!

Congratulations are due to two of our parishioners who are preparing for ordination as permanent deacons. Paul Flor and Francisco Jaurides were installed in the Ministry of Lector, one of the necessary steps along the way. They have about a year and half of studies and other preparation left before, God willing, they are ordained. Please keep them in your prayers.

Finally, please remember to pray for me, at least one Hail Mary a day. Know that I pray for you daily, and appreciate your prayers for me.

Have a blessed week!
Fr. John