I myself have served in five St. Patrick churches. My first priesthood assignment was at St. Patrick Church in Seneca Falls where I served for three years, two of those years with Fr. Conboy as my pastor. I then served for six years in the St. Patrick Church in Cato, one of the three churches that comprised at the time the Northern Cayuga Cluster. I would later serve for seventeen years at St. Patrick Church in Owego before I came here as pastor in 2014. So if I figure correctly I have served 31 of my nearly 37 years as a priest in churches under the patronage of St. Patrick. Also in my youth I was a member of St. Patrick Church in Oneida for four years. It was there that I received the Sacrament of Confirmation; my confirmation name being, of course, Patrick! My surname might be English, but I am fully Irish on my mother’s side. So I rejoice with the Irish and all those who claim him as there patron saint on this St. Patrick’s Day.
Lent is celebrated as a penitential season but we do have a few special feast day that we celebrate with greater solemnity during the Lenten Season. Tuesday, March 19th we celebrate the Solemnity of St. Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgil Mary. This feast has been celebrated on March 19 in honor of St. Joseph since the end of the 10th century. St. Joseph was declared Patron of the Universal Church in 1870 by Pope Pius IX and Guardian of the Redeemer in 1989 by Pope John Paul II. As we honor St. Joseph and ask for his intercession may we be strengthened in our Lenten observance.
When we celebrate Mass on Solemnity feast days, even during Lent, we pray the Gloria. The Gloria is omitted at all Masses during Lent with the exception of feast days that are celebrated as solemnities. So on St. Joseph’s Day we pray the Gloria. This Lent we will also celebrate another Solemnity feast day, The Annunciation of the Lord, on March 25th when we remember the blessed event of the Angel Gabrielle announcing to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive in her womb and bear a son, whom she would name Jesus, who would be called holy, the Son of God. It seem strange in a way reflecting on Jesus’ birth during Lent when we journey with Him on the way to the Cross, but in order for Him to die for our sins he first had to be born as one of us to be our Savior. So as we celebrate the Annunciation remember only nine month to the day to Christmas!
Have a blessed and prayerful Lent,
God bless you, Father Bill
God of mercy, You have given us this special time to reflect on our lives, believe in the Good News and draw closer to You. May this season of Lent help us use this time to fast and pray, be more generous and show others how to live in Christ. Let us see each day of this season as a new opportunity to renew our lives and gain a deeper appreciation of Your active presence in us and our community of faith. Give us the grace to see Your face in others, especially the poor and those who suffer. And through your Spirit, enkindle in us the fire of Your love so that we may be better stewards of Your redeeming work throughout the world. We ask this through Jesus, Your Son.