Sunday, March 6, 2011

from the desk of Fr. Paul…

Lent is upon us! This coming Wednesday, March 9, is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Masses are at 6:30 a.m. and at 7:00 p.m. Ashes will be blessed and distributed at each Mass.

In her wisdom, the Church set aside this season of Lent, this season of repentance, to remind ourselves of the constant need to repent and cleanse ourselves of our sins. It is a season of penance and prayer. It leads us to Easter, the great celebration of our salvation. I urge you to use this season well.

As a reminder for us all, the Church has certain laws during Lent. As a Catholic, one must abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, however, fasting is encouraged throughout the season of Lent, especially every Friday. This is the bare minimum. As God’s special people, given the opportunity of this season, should we not want to do more to renew our relationship with God and recognize what is keeping me from a closer relationship? The traditional forms of penance are prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Spending extra time in prayer (which includes Scripture reading and reflection), denying myself certain foods and becoming more aware of the needy through my volunteering and almsgiving, all help me to come closer to God. Using the Sacrament of Penance (confession) is a tremendous way of letting go of the past and experiencing God’s mercy, thus getting closer to Him. In addition to Sunday, coming and celebrating the Eucharist on one or more weekdays; the Council of Trent calls the Eucharist “a remedy to free us from our daily faults and to preserve us from mortal sin”.

As for devotions: Every Friday during Lent we will have Stations of the Cross at 7:00 p.m.; aids such as the “Word Among Us” will be available to all who want it, to help us read and reflect on the Scriptures; the monthly handouts such as “Everyday Catholic” and “Catholic Updates” give us many spiritual insights for our daily living. Our neighboring Parish of St John (Mililani) invites any of you to their Parish Mission, March 21-23 at 7:00 p.m. The Penance Service for Resurrection is set for March 22nd at 7:00 p.m. I’ll publish the dates and times of the other Parishes’ next week.

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