Pray, Think, and Get Ready!
It is hard to believe, but Lent is just around the corner. Ash Wednesday is February 17th this year. I must admit, I am not quite over Advent and Christmas yet. Things are still in a bit of a blur. Celebrating twenty four Masses in four days will do that to you! Since May and in order to help provide opportunities for more people to come to Mass and confession while keeping social distancing during the pandemic, we added additional Masses and confession times. For most of this time we have had three Masses a day, Monday-Friday. Since Christmas, we reduced the number to two, but we will resume to three daily Masses with confessions during Lent. It is an honor for us to do this. I would ask that you please pray for many more priestly vocations. Keeping this schedule has not been easy. Also, even though we were shut down and many of our activities were curtailed, our parish continues to serve as best as we can the more than 15,000 parishioners that call SJV home. Since July 1st, we have had over 60 funerals here at SJV! That is a lot. There have been days when we have had multiple funerals. We continue to play catch up with weddings for those who could not have their weddings last year due to restrictions, and we continue with Preparation for the Sacraments for our Youth and RCIA. Our parish is not the largest parish in the archdiocese. We are the 14th largest, but we consistently have some of the largest numbers of converts to the faith, adults being confirmed and children receiving sacraments. The priests and the staff always work hard, but during this pandemic they have truly gone the extra mile so that our parishioners may be strengthened and comforted by their Catholic Faith.
We are more than ten months into this crisis. We have come a long way and we are not done. Hopefully, we are nearing the end. For this we must continue to pray. As we prepare to enter Lent in just a few weeks, I would like to ask you to take some time and reflect on a few things. How has your relationship with the Lord been during these last ten months? Where does it need some work or improvement? What have been the blessings that the Lord has bestowed upon you during this time? How have you used those blessings? How are your relationships with family members? What needs healing, forgiveness, affirmation? What hurts do you need to let go? What is the Lord calling you to do?
In some ways, we missed out on last year’s Lent and Easter. This year it is not likely we will be able to be totally back to normal. But we now know how to make adjustments and hopefully cope a little better. I encourage you to take the next few weeks to plan ahead for this Lent and Easter. For what do you need to pray? For whom do you need to pray? What in your life needs God’s grace? Who in your life needs you to help bring them closer to God?
If Ash Wednesday and Lent are coming, then Easter is also coming. The best way to have a happy Easter is to have a holy Lent! Now is the time for all of us to think and begin getting ready to make this Lent and Easter the best ones of our lives!
Please pray for one another, and pray that we may all be able to come together as a family of faith soon!
In pace Christi,