A View from the Rectory Window, February 14, 2021
Pope Francis reminded us that “Lent is the favorable season for renewing our encounter with Christ…” From his first encyclical to the present day, by word and deed, the Holy Father has shown us that the hearts of those who truly encounter Jesus Christ are filled with the joy of the Gospel. In light of the pandemic and national and personal circumstances I believe we are most mindful that our lives, our Church, nation and world need that joy.
Pope Francis has also warned us that sin can cool, distance and even break our relationship with Christ leaving us not with joy but with an interior emptiness, a weariness about life and a blindness to our true needs and the needs of those around us.
In urging us on to conversion, the Holy Father challenges us not to settle for mediocrity but to use the Lenten practices of prayer, penance and almsgiving to draw closer to Christ, detach ourselves from the false idols of this world and to accompany more closely those in our midst who are suffering, needy and vulnerable.
A recent news article reported that psychologists have found that people derive more satisfaction and pleasure from providing things for others in need rather than acquiring something unnecessary for themselves. In Gospel terms, “whatever you do for the least of your brothers and sisters, you do it for me.” Our charity and almsgiving become an encounter with Christ that brings us joy. Prayer and penance help us to take our eyes off ourselves and to see others in our midst. They liberate us to respond and, in doing so, to find joy. This is the journey of Lent--- taking up the Cross, dying to self that we may better love God and others. It is a journey that leads to the joy of Easter.
In addition to your personal practice of prayer, fasting and almsgiving I invite you to join us in some (or all) of the following parish Lenten experiences:
¨ February 17 – Ash Wednesday (please see website, Facebook or bulletin for times)
¨ Pope Francis has declared 2021 the Year of Saint Joseph – we will pray a Novena to Saint Joseph from March 10-19 (please see website, Facebook or bulletin for details)
¨ Due to Covid restrictions we will not be celebrating a Lenten Penance Service. Instead, each Wednesday of Lent at 7:00pm – 7:30pm (or later if needed), in the Church of the Resurrection, we and every parish in the diocese will offer the Sacrament of Penance in an initiative called, “The Light is ON for you!” This way you may visit our Church or another parish to share in this sacrament.
¨ On every Monday evening at 7pm, the Saint Maximilian Kolbe Life and Justice Committee are providing online presentations on Catholic Social Teaching (please see website, Facebook or bulletin for details about the topic and the presenters)
¨ On Palm Sunday we have permission to give out blessed palms, following all pandemic protocols.
¨ On Easter Sunday morning we have sought permission from church and civil officials to have an Easter sunrise Mass.
Please be assured of my daily prayers for you and may Saint Maximilian Kolbe pray for us!