the shortest distance is between
Let's get ready for Lent. Including this weekend, we have three Sundays left before Ash Wednesday, Feb. 26. Historically, this Sunday is called Septuagesima. But: Isn’t Lent a time of preparation for Easter? So, why prepare for a time of preparation?
I don’t know about you, but Lenten practices take some time to bring up to speed. The omission of the “Alleluia,” for example, feels weird for days and weeks after Lent begins. And whenever I take on a Lenten penance, it’s hard for me to keep it steady—assuming, of course, that I’ve even thought of what I should do for Lent before Lent starts! Well, Lent is starting soon, and I have a couple suggestions to help make it fruitful.
1. bring your old palms back to church next weekend
Like last year, I will char palms to make ash for Ash Wednesday on the Saturday before, Feb. 22 at 10:30 outside the Church (come join me for hot cocoa, coffee, and more). If you have old palms laying around from years past, this is a great way to tidy up. Also, if you have other holy things you need to discard, please bring them to the office anytime, and I’ll take care of them.
2. give some thought to what you want to do for lent this year
Maybe there are obvious things to cut out, like swearing or other rude habits. Maybe there are less obvious things to work on, like being better at expressing gratefulness or even just consistently telling your loved ones how much you love them. Think about it now, and when Lent comes you’ll already be on top of it.
Last year we were blessed to have Fr. Michael Gaitley join us to share his excellent perspective on Divine Mercy; this year, we have another excellent, excellent presenter: Fr. Chris Alar, MIC. The mission is three evenings, next Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, and looks particularly great. Please, take advantage of this unique opportunity and show Fr. Alar how welcoming we are! Lent is a time of repentance—precisely because our Lord is merciful.
Our Bishop is making his Ad Limina journey right now, the special time when a bishop is invited to Rome to give a report on his diocese to the Holy Father and the offices of the Holy See. With several other pilgrims, I’ll be joining Bishop Solis in Rome Feb. 10-18. Please keep us in your prayers in our travels and especially for the pilgrims that I’ll be leading. I’ll keep you in my prayers at the holy places we’ll be visiting, and also my father’s soul, who just passed away one month ago.