Prepare for Lent

 

To preview our 2018 Lenten Schedule, please click on the link below.

Lenten Schedule

 

Journey to the Foot of the Cross – 10 Things to Remember For Lent

Journey to the Foot of the Cross:
Bishop Ricken Offers 10 Things to Remember For Lent

Bishop David L. Ricken of Green Bay, Wisconsin, former chairman of the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), offers “10 Things to Remember for Lent”:

  1. Remember the formula. The Church does a good job capturing certain truths with easy-to-remember lists and formulas: 10 Commandments, 7 sacraments, 3 persons in the Trinity. For Lent, the Church gives us almost a slogan—Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving—as the three things we need to work on during the season.
  2. It’s a time of prayer. Lent is essentially an act of prayer spread out over 40 days. As we pray, we go on a journey, one that hopefully brings us closer to Christ and leaves us changed by the encounter with him.
  3. It’s a time to fast. With the fasts of Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, meatless Fridays, and our personal disciplines interspersed, Lent is the only time many Catholics these days actually fast. And maybe that’s why it gets all the attention. “What are you giving up for Lent? Hotdogs? Beer? Jelly beans?” It’s almost a game for some of us, but fasting is actually a form of penance, which helps us turn away from sin and toward Christ.
  4. It’s a time to work on discipline. The 40 days of Lent are also a good, set time to work on personal discipline in general. Instead of giving something up, it can be doing something positive. “I’m going to exercise more. I’m going to pray more. I’m going to be nicer to my family, friends and coworkers.”
  5. It’s about dying to yourself. The more serious side of Lenten discipline is that it’s about more than self-control – it’s about finding aspects of yourself that are less than Christ-like and letting them die. The suffering and death of Christ are foremost on our minds during Lent, and we join in these mysteries by suffering, dying with Christ and being resurrected in a purified form.
  6. Don’t do too much. It’s tempting to make Lent some ambitious period of personal reinvention, but it’s best to keep it simple and focused. There’s a reason the Church works on these mysteries year after year. We spend our entire lives growing closer to God. Don’t try to cram it all in one Lent. That’s a recipe for failure.
  7. Lent reminds us of our weakness. Of course, even when we set simple goals for ourselves during Lent, we still have trouble keeping them. When we fast, we realize we’re all just one meal away from hunger. In both cases, Lent shows us our weakness. This can be painful, but recognizing how helpless we are makes us seek God’s help with renewed urgency and sincerity.
  8. Be patient with yourself. When we’re confronted with our own weakness during Lent, the temptation is to get angry and frustrated. “What a bad person I am!” But that’s the wrong lesson. God is calling us to be patient and to see ourselves as he does, with unconditional love.
  9. Reach out in charity. As we experience weakness and suffering during Lent, we should be renewed in our compassion for those who are hungry, suffering or otherwise in need. The third part of the Lenten formula is almsgiving. It’s about more than throwing a few extra dollars in the collection plate; it’s about reaching out to others and helping them without question as a way of sharing the experience of God’s unconditional love.
  10. Learn to love like Christ. Giving of ourselves in the midst of our suffering and self-denial brings us closer to loving like Christ, who suffered and poured himself out unconditionally on cross for all of us. Lent is a journey through the desert to the foot of the cross on Good Friday, as we seek him out, ask his help, join in his suffering, and learn to love like him.

Deacon’s Corner 2/18/18

Did you know by the 2nd Century, Christians prepared for the annual celebration of Easter by fasting for two days?  This was the natural thing to do in preparation for the holiest of times when the Early Christians expected Jesus’ immediate return.  By the 3rd Century, this fasting was extended to all of Holy Week.  The 40 days of Lent, we know it today, began sometime in the early 4th Century.

Lent is that time of year when we buckle down, don’t eat meat on Fridays, and “give up something”.   We call this “penance”.   We do penance to remind us that suffering a little bit can make us a better person.  Through this suffering, we come to appreciate what we have and realize we can really do more with less.  Our Catechism tells us penance “can be expressed in many and various ways…above all three forms:  fasting, prayer, and almsgiving (CCC 1434.)”

When looking for something to “give up” during Lent, let’s remember the goal is to acknowledge our weaknesses so we can undergo a spiritual revival to grow closer to God.  Doing penance without reflecting on how it can change us for the better misses the whole point of Lent.  If we deny ourselves a favorite food to develop the self-discipline for spiritual renewal – that’s good!  But if we “give up” that same tasty treat during Lent as a motive to lose a few pounds, well, we should probably think again.

Lent emphasizes three very specific aspects of personal choice for spiritual renewal.  These are prayer, fasting; and recalling our Baptismal Vows to remember what it means to belong to God’s people.  “Giving up” something can include giving up our time to do Corporal Works of Mercy – feeding the hungry and giving drink to the thirsty, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick and imprisoned, giving to the poor, and burying the dead.  Burying the dead can be as simple as attending a funeral for someone you don’t know, especially if their funeral is not well attended.  Doing Corporal Works of Mercy helps foster conversion of our heart by instilling a greater love for God and others.

Lent is a time of preparation to help us find our ourselves and encounter God.  May you have a Blessed Lenten Season with our Lord!  Deacon John

Easter Preparations

The students are preparing for Easter. We began with Mass on Ash Wednesday and we will continue the next 40 days focusing on being the best versions of ourselves.  Lent is the time when the students learn about putting Jesus first.  We will pray every day together to remember the death and resurrection of Jesus.

During Lent the students spend time, every week at the Church, moving through the Stations of the Cross. We invite you join us with a child friendly walk of the last steps of Jesus every Thursday at 12:30.

Each student is asked to give up something important to them.  The students have chosen different things but the point is to stick with it for 40 days.  The journey to Christ can have temptations but we are trying very hard to stay on the path.

We will be praying for all of you this Lent.  The students have such focused caring for all of those who need prayers.  They remember to pray for all people in all situations.  Fourth grader, Ellie Loar always asks us to pray for the people who do not have food or money or shelter.  What a beautiful thought.

It is the season to open hearts and to maintain a solid purpose.  We know it will be challenging but the gift of Easter is worth every day that we stay focused on Christ.

God Bless,

Anne Atkin, Principal

 

Deacon’s Corner 1/27/18

I sat staring at the computer last week struggling to write something.  Nothing was coming to mind.  I thumbed through my file of ideas.  Nothing jumped out at me. I paused and prayed, asking God to give me an idea on what to write about.  Then, I remembered an email a parishioner sent me about my Deacon’s Corner from last week.  It was one, simple sentence that said, “Loved your thoughts on abortion; beautifully written.” I thought about it a minute, then decided I had to write more this week.

Abortion is one of biggest issues that divides our society today.  We mourn the lives lost long before their time, the mothers and fathers who feel forced into this decision due to lack of support, the families torn apart, and the cultural betrayal of human dignity.  When we see the gift of life as expendable, we begin to disregard the dignity the unborn and all those whom we perceive as different—we become a society divided against itself.

As we witness the many offenses against human life, it is important to remember there are people out there working to build a culture of life.  A culture that fights for the protection of the unborn -for the protection of all life -will stand united.  But to do so, we must build that culture of life together.  We must rely on God and draw encouragement from the examples of the people He puts into our lives every day.  When we join this community of life, we stand united to bring forth God’s kingdom showing consistent and genuine care for all vulnerable people.  Including the unborn.  Our witness for life will move others to do the same.