Off To A Good Start!

03-13-2022From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

It’s good to see Lent get off to a good start in our parish. Seeing so many people in Church on Ash Wednesday really lifted my spirits. I pray that we all make a great Lent, so that we can celebrate Easter with our hearts renewed and our souls filled with God’s grace.

Speaking of souls filled with grace, we will have our Lenten Penance Service this Monday, March 14, at 7 PM in Church. About 10 priests will be there to hear Confessions. This will be a good time to make your Lenten Confession, and be sure that your soul is free from sin and filled with God’s grace for Easter.

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. Remember that, in addition to the Penance Service, we will have two confessors on duty every Saturday of Lent from 9–9:30 AM and 3:15–4:15 PM.

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 ‘un–nail 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.

Remember all of our other Lenten Devotions, and take part in them if you can. Stations of the Cross on Fridays, and Benediction at 7 PM on Wednesdays, are great ways to pray and open your heart to our Lord this Lent. A schedule of all our Lenten devotions is included elsewhere in this bulletin.

I want to mention a special gift that was left to our parish by Msgr. Corona, our former pastor who recently passed away. It is some relics of St. Philip and St. James, which Monsignor had obtained from Rome some years ago. He wanted these relics left with our parish, which is entrusted to their patronage. We will soon look into displaying them in our Church to remind us of our connection with these great saints and all the prayers they offer for us individually and as members of this parish.

I hope you are all praying for peace. Remember our Blessed Mother has asked us to pray the Rosary for peace, especially in her appearance at Fatima. The Rosary is prayed in our Church following the Novena on Monday evenings and before the 8am Mass each day.

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