St. Joseph and Lent

03-20-2022From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

March 19th is the Solemn Feast of Saint Joseph. I think it’s great that we honor St. Joseph during Lent, because he is an example to us of what Lent is all about. When the Gospel first introduces us to Saint Joseph, it tells us that he is a ‘just man.’ In the Bible, a ‘just man’ is someone who is right with God and other people.

Saint Joseph was certainly right with God, so right that God chose him to be Jesus’ foster father. His willingness to take Mary into his home, and to raise her Son as his own, tells us that Joseph was right with the people around him.

Lent is a time for us to get right with God, especially by repenting of our sins and making a good Confession, but also by spending a bit more time with Him in prayer. It is also a time for us to make sure we are right with other people, especially those around us. Like Joseph, we do well to be mindful of the needs of our family and neighbors, and to repent of any times we’ve been impatient, insensitive, or uncaring towards them.

Remember that there is a Parish Meeting in Mercy Hall following the 9 AM Mass today. Members of the parish finance council will be there, along with myself, to answer any questions you may have about the Financial Statement that was issued a few weeks ago. If you did not get one (they were inserted in the bulletin) you can pick one up at the meeting or request one from our parish office. Coffee and donuts will be served.

By now you have undoubtedly received a letter regarding this year’s Bishop’s Annual Appeal. Next weekend we will have the ‘in pew’ segment of the Appeal. Those who wish can complete an appeal form and place it in the collection during Mass. You can also write on the form any people or things about which you would like our bishop to pray. He likes to keep all of us in his prayers – much as I keep you in mine.

I tell you every year that the Bishop’s Appeal helps to support a lot of things throughout our diocese. One of them is Catholic Charities right here in Phillipsburg. The education of seminarians studying for the priesthood, such as Dawid who was with us last year, is another holy and important work supported by the appeal.

I always make a contribution to the appeal, for a couple of reasons. The first is practical – I understand the need to support the mission of the Church in our area. The second is that supporting the appeal is one way that I connect with the larger Church beyond our own parish. While our parish is my primary charity, the diocese of which it is a part comes next.

Speaking of charity, thanks to all who supported the Ash Wednesday collection for Ukraine. I don’t have to tell you of the unspeakable suffering that is happening there – you see it on the news each day. Please pray for peace – every day.

Starting immediately, the Rosary will be prayed for peace at 8:30am and 10:30am on Sundays – prior to the 9 and 11 AM Masses. I hope that many of you will join in this prayer. As always, please also pray a Hail Mary each day for me, and be assured of my daily prayers for you.

Have a great week!

Fr. John