Lent begins this Wednesday. There are two Masses scheduled for Ash Wednesday: 8:30 am here at the main church and 7:00 pm at the Saint Matthew Church site. You should have received a letter in the mail from me this weekend with various flyers and information regarding all that is going on in our parish this Lenten Season along with a couple of things we are doing in conjunction with the Vicariate. It is my hope and prayer that all of us will enter into this Season of Lent with open hearts and a willingness to respond to the Lord’s call for continued conversion in our lives. Also, please pray for those preparing to receive the sacraments of Initiation this Easter. Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are the three traditional disciplines of Lent. All of us: the faithful, the Elect, and those preparing for Reception into Full Communion in the Catholic Church should undertake these practices seriously in a spirit of penance and of preparation for baptism or renewal of baptismal promises at Easter. The Little Black Books you received last weekend are a means to supplement your Lenten prayer and the Rice Bowls which you will receive after Mass this weekend are a means to help you with your Lenten almsgiving. Please note the rules and regulations for fasting and abstinence below.
Regulations for Fast and Abstinence
Fasting is to be observed by all 18 years of age and older who have not yet celebrated their 59th birthday. On a fast day, one full meal is allowed. Two other meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to each one’s needs, but together they should not equal another full meal. Eating between meals is not permitted, but liquids, including milk and juices, are allowed.
Abstinence is observed by all 14 years of age and older. On days of abstinence no meat is allowed. Note that when health or ability to work would be seriously affected, the law does not oblige. When in doubt, the parish priest should be consulted.
Ash Wednesday, February 18 and Good Friday, April 3 are days of fast and abstinence. All Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence.
Welcome, Father Bill Taylor! It is good to have you with us again. Father Bill has graciously offered to preside at Eucharist this weekend in order to give Father Jim the opportunity to get a short and much needed break this winter.
The new sacristy sink was installed this past week. We purchased the sink over a month ago, but only got the cabinets last week. Since we waited for a sale, we were able to purchase the cabinets at a 20% discount. Because the installation was done by a parishioner and a volunteer, there was no cost to the parish for labor. You may remember that I wrote about the sink in a previous bulletin article (December 7, 2014). To refresh your memory, I will summarize what I wrote previously: We received a directive twice from the Office of Liturgy that the sink needed to be replaced with one more appropriate for the cleansing of vessels and in keeping with the proper way of purifying and cleansing vessels. We were directed to provide a new sink because the needs of the church and the liturgy had changed over the years since Vatican Council II. Previous to the Council, only the priest received the Precious Blood and he was responsible for purifying his own chalice and paten. Post Vatican II, when permission was given for the reception of Holy Communion under both species (the Body of Christ and the Blood of Christ), and when the ministries of Sacristan and Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion were instituted, the need arose for more space, counter space, and a deeper sink with a raised faucet for the cleansing of many vessels, and the ability to immerse some of them into hot, soapy water. We were advised that once the installation of the new sink was completed, we could move forward with some other projects that were approved but placed on hold until the sink was in place. With the installation of the new sink, we now have complied with diocesan directives and have made it possible for both Priest-Presider and Sacristan to perform the duties of purification and cleansing of vessels in a more worthy and dignified manner. I will keep you posted regarding the next two projects we hope to accomplish.
Please note the final flyer in today’s bulletin provided by Father Jim as a supplement to his Teaching Mass: Part II. Next week I will also include his notes on Church Etiquette in the bulletin.
I would like to extend a special thank you to Jim Szynwelski (in advance) for overseeing the preparations and sale of the paczki. I would also like to thank in advance all those who are graciously offering their time to help make this event a great success. Unfortunately, this year I will not be able to spend time in the kitchen with you. As you know from last week’s bulletin, I will be attending my mom’s 89th birthday celebration this Sunday afternoon. I had every intention of returning the same day. However, I received word on Thursday that my Aunt Margaret who had resided at the same Nursing Home as my mom died at 3:30 am that morning. Her funeral is Monday at 11:00 am so I will be present for that. It is a Funeral Liturgy outside Mass and I was asked by the family to preside at it. Of course, I said “yes,” so I will be staying in Riverview overnight on Sunday and returning later in the day on Monday.
Today we celebrate the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Today we “bury the Alleluia.” It is the last time we will sing Alleluia until the Easter Vigil. In today’s Gospel, a leper approaches Jesus and begs for healing. “If you wish, you can make me clean,” he says. After healing the man, Jesus tells him not to tell anyone, but to go and show himself to the priest. In spite of what Jesus said, the man did tell many people what Jesus had done for him. Because of that, it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. Here is an interesting reflection on today’s Gospel. Although the leper who is restored to health and wholeness, disobeys the Lord and broadcasts the news of his healing, there is something necessary in his telling. It is likely that the real healing takes place in the hearts of those who receive this man back into their midst. Jesus’ ministry of healing is directed not only at those afflicted with illness or a demon but at those who have placed the troubled ones at the fringe of society. They are in need of a restored and renewed vision. Could the same be said of us? Do our hearts need a bit of healing as well to welcome those we keep at a safe distance from ourselves? (Stephen S.Wilbricht, CSC, STD)
Blessings on your week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ