From our pastor Father Neil Herlihy

 
This coming Wednesday in the Church year is Ash Wednesday.  The day derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of people as a reminder of human mortality and as a sign of repentance and contrition.  Many Churches are full as people flock to Church to publicly humble themselves before the Lord.  It is a day of fasting and abstinence.  It marks the beginning of the Lenten season.  Lent is the time, approximating forty days, of reflection and penance leading up to Easter.

During this special time in the Church year, we are invited to turn to God and seek renewal in heart, mind, and body through the disciplines of Lent: prayer, almsgiving, and fasting if we are physically able. We can respond to this challenge to live a Christian life and truly turn away from sin and towards the living God.  We can acknowledge our sins and shortcomings and avail ourselves of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  During this season of Lent we are challenged to make a concerted effort to resist the many temptations of this world and allow the Lord to effect a lasting transformation in our hearts and minds.

The following prayer provided by “Catholic Online” reflects the spirit of Ash Wednesday and the Lenten season:

GRACIOUS GOD, TODAY BEGINS A PERIOD OF INNER REFLECTION AND EXAMINATION.
THE DAYS STRETCH BEFORE ME AND INVITE ME INWARD TO THAT SILENT,
HOLY SPACE THAT HOLDS YOUR SPIRIT.
THIS SPECIAL TIME BECKONS ME TO SEE MY LIFE THROUGH CHRIST’S EYES
AND THE TRUTH AND REALITY OF YOUR INCARNATE LOVE.
GIVE ME THE GRACE TO ENTER THE SPACE OF THESE DAYS WITH ANTICIPATION OF OUR MEETING.
AND, WHEN I OPEN MY SOUL TO YOUR PRESENCE,
LET YOUR LOVING KINDNESS FLOW OVER ME AND SEEP INTO THE POCKETS OF MY HEART.
I ASK THIS FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR LOVE. AMEN.

As we reflect on this prayer, we are reminded that throughout the season of Lent, we as a faith community will focus in a special way on Jesus as Our Lord, Savior, and Master, and as the foundation of our lives as we answer our call to discipleship.  A schedule of selected dates, events, and liturgies during Lent can be found in the Parish bulletin and on the Parish app and website.  This also includes details on our Parish Lenten Mission.  We are invited to strive to unite our hearts to the Lord and experience His love and mercy during this special time of grace. 

 
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