“Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel”
1) This Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, we begin our Lenten journey with a mark of ashes on our foreheads and this challenge: Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel. Perhaps this year our season of Lent will give us an opportunity to work on uniting ourselves with our Lord Jesus and one another. It is my hope that we can all make this our sincere desire as we journey these forty days together. The Catholic Church asks each member of the faithful to preserve the penitential character and purpose of Lent. For this reason:
a) Catholics who have celebrated their 14th birthday are bound to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and each Friday of Lent;
b) Catholics who have celebrated their 18th birthday, in addition to abstaining from meat, should fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Hence, on those days they should eat only one full meal. Smaller quantities of food may be taken at two other meals but no food should be consumed at other times during those two days. The obligation of fasting ceases with the celebration of one’s 59th birthday.
I would also encourage you to take part in the different opportunities for prayer that are offered in our community. Morning Mass is a wonderful way to start the day expressing our desire to walk closely with the Lord during this season. Masses are celebrated on Mondays and Fridays at St. Mary, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at St. Charles and on Tuesdays at St. Joseph. All weekday Masses begin at 8:30 AM. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is held daily Monday through Wednesday in the chapel at St. Mary Parish. Stations of the Cross are prayed on Tuesdays at 7:00 PM at St. Mary and on Fridays at 6:00 PM at St. Charles. The Sacrament of Reconciliation also provides a renewal of faith and extraordinary sense of strength during this season. Confessions are heard on the 1st Saturday of the month at St. Joseph at 4:00 PM, 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month at St. Charles at 4:30 PM on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month at 3:30 PM at St. Mary. There will also be two Communal Reconciliation Services available: Saturday, March 17th at 10:00 AM at St. Charles and Wednesday, March 21st beginning at 7:00 PM at St. Joseph Church. Whatever form of prayer and penance we decide to do this Lent, I hope that we will open our hearts to Jesus’ presence in our midst and unite ourselves to Him and one another even more closely.
2) The Archdiocese has now begun the 2018 Catholic Stewardship Appeal. This past week you should have received a letter from Archbishop Listecki asking for your support to help reach this year’s goal of $7,700,000. Our parishes have a good tradition of being very generous to this most worthy appeal and I am truly grateful to all of you for this. The work and outreach of the Archdiocese continues primarily through the support of the Catholic Stewardship Appeal. Our parishes have benefited greatly in the past from the people and resources available to us through the Central Offices of the Archdiocese. Please be generous as we support the on going mission of the Church, the work of God, in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
As we begin our Lenten journey I pray that we may all be strengthened and renewed by His love and care for each one of us. A blessed and grace-filled Lent to all of you!
Father Jim Volkert