Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
No sooner have we retired the poinsettias than we don the purple for Holy Lent. Last year at this time the pandemic was rapidly spreading and we did not know what to expect. As Easter drew near everything was coming to a stand still and sadly our churches were shuttered and we learned the meaning of virtual and live-streaming. No doubt we thought by this time there would be a return to normalcy. Well, we have adapted to the situation as best we can. We grieve with those have lost loved ones due to the virus and console those who are afflicted. Because we believe that the Good Lord can draw good out of every bad situation our faith has been tested but not faltered. Hope ever sustains us. The season we are about to enter, once again under the veil of uncertainty, is nonetheless a season of hope.
In special ways we affirm that hope by focusing on the Cross of our Savior Jesus Christ. On Wednesday we come to receive the ashes on our heads in the form of a cross. It is a double paradox. Ashes are completely lifeless. The Cross was the instrument of death. But in Christ both symbolize a return to the new life that Christ gained for us by His death. Our life has been recreated and restored though, with and in Him. Our Friday stations are our weekly journey to Calvary so very reflective of the “calvaries” we all experience. We cannot make sense out of them unless they are grafted to THE Calvary that has made all the difference. Therefore we should make every effort to join in this penitential work. Stations of the Cross are offered twice at St. Mary Magdalen and also at St. Bernard and St. Joseph. Consult the bulletin for appropriate times.
Confessions are an essential part of our Lenten journey. Your priests hear confessions every day before or after Masses and on Saturday mornings from 10:30 AM until 12:00 PM (noon). That is when the light will be on for you. There will not be confessions on Monday evenings since in the past years, hardly anyone took advantage of that time. Many have preferred Saturday mornings which has been well attended.
Kindly be aware that on Ash Wednesday we will be returning to the ancient manner of distributing the blessed ashes (as has always been done in Europe and through most of the world). The priests or deacon will says the words of repentance and sprinkle the ashes on the top of your head in the form of the Cross. Please come forward in single file, masked and six feet distance at the proper time. May we have a fruitful Lent also by heeding the stipulations for fast and abstinence.
May God bless all of you on your Lenten pilgrimage.