From the Pastor’s Desk – February 11, 2018

Lent: A New Beginning for All

We begin as a St. Genevieve Parish family to walk with Christ toward Golgotha this week on Ash Wednesday.

In the words of Our Holy Father, Pope Francis:

“Lent summons us, and enables us, 
to come back to the Lord wholeheartedly
and in every aspect of our lives.’’

You have heard me say it (preach) that “there is always – always – a new beginning with God” through repentance in the Sacrament of Penance. Lent is a time for all of us to begin again with God – regardless of where we’ve been or what we’ve done. He is here for us in His Mercy, offering us outstretched arms of welcome and forgiveness.

Our parish will offer many renewal opportunities when we can to come together in prayer, including Wednesday confessions, Stations of the Cross, a new “Evening of Lenten Reflection” on Feb. 28 and the Poor Man’s supper on March 12. Let us join together in devoting ourselves to seeking the Lord in prayer, devotion, fasting, praying with Scripture, service through almsgiving, sacrifice and self-control this Lent.

We all know about the tradition of abstaining from meat on Fridays during Lent, which is a good place to start but we also are called to practice self-discipline and fast in other ways throughout the season. Christian tradition can name at least seven reasons for fasting:

  1. From the beginning, God commanded some fasting, and sin entered into the world because Adam and Eve broke the fast.
  2. For the Christian, fasting is ultimately about fasting from sin.
  3. Fasting reveals our dependence on God and not the resources of this world.
  4. Fasting is an ancient way of preparing for the Eucharist—the truest of foods.
  5. Fasting is preparation for Baptism (and all the sacraments)—for the reception of grace.
  6. Fasting is a means of saving resources to give to the poor.
  7. Fasting is a means of self-discipline, chastity, and the restraining of the appetites.

The giving of alms is another way to share God’s gifts—not only through financial giving, but through the sharing of our time and talents. As St. John Chrysostom reminds us: “Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs.”
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2446).

In Lent, the baptized are called to renew their baptismal commitment as others prepare to be baptized through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, a period of learning and discernment for individuals who have declared their desire to become Catholics, including those in St. Genevieve we are so proud of. The key to fruitful observance of these practices is to recognize their link to baptismal renewal. We are called not just to abstain from sin during Lent, but to true conversion of our hearts and minds as followers of Christ. We recall those waters in which we were baptized into Christ’s death, died to sin and evil, and began new life in Christ.

We also are called as Catholics to begin anew through confession during Lent. How beautiful it was to see our children make their First Penance this week, so well-timed to begin their Lenten journeys. I pray that all their parents will encourage them and show them by example in practicing the faith at weekly Mass. Let it begin this Lent with confession and a return to the Holy Eucharist in a state of Grace.

There is always – always – a new beginning with God. Let us begin it together this Wednesday.

*****

Thank you to all who attended last week’s Mass for Consecrated Life, and to all the sisters and my brothers in Christ who were with us for the after-Mass reception. Thank you also to Fr. Lyons for holding the fort down in my absence and to my area brother priests who assisted with Masses.

Today we dedicate a new stained-glass window before the 10:30 Mass. Opportunities to memorialize a loved one on other windows still exists. See Father Kevin if you are interested.

*****

And yes, being at the Super Bowl was beyond anything I imagined it would be. Indescribable! I’m most happy for all the long-suffering fans dating back to the 1960’s who really deserve to see a World Championship for their decades and decades of loyalty. And how great it was to hear Coach Pederson, Nick Foles and many other Eagles give thanks to God!

Have a beautiful and blessed Lent, my friends!

 Father Kevin

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