I encourage you to make some personal decisions as to how you might grow in your faith and in your relationship to God during Lent. Some things to consider doing during Lent might be: participating in a weekday Mass, spending some time each day in personal prayer, visiting the church and praying before the Blessed Sacrament, taking time as a family to reflect on Bible stories or readings, praying the Stations of the Cross, praying together as a family or as a couple, learning more about injustices in the world and what you can do to address them, reaching out to a person in need, visiting a housebound parishioner or neighbor. Pray about what you could do and ask the Holy Spirit to help you to discipline yourself to do it. You might find that the discipline of Lent will fill your lives with many blessings and your hearts with peace. A schedule of Lenten events is enclosed in this bulletin. To assist you in your daily prayer a devotional booklet, The Little Black Book is available at our churches, as well as The Word Among Us that includes the prayers and Mass readings of the day and daily meditations.
is once again our parish Lenten alms giving program. Operation Rice Bowl is a Lenten program of prayer, fasting, education and almsgiving. This Catholic Relief Services Lenten program helps people in developing countries to break the cycle of poverty by developing skills and means to provide for their families. Each Rice Bowl comes with a Lenten calendar with short reflections for each day of Lent and recipes for dishes from around the world. Educational and prayer materials and videos are also available through the CRS web-site at www.crsricebowl.org and on Facebook and Twitter. It is suggested that you put the Rice Bowl on your dinner table at home and during Lent to set aside days to fast as a prayer sacrifice for the poor and hungry of the world. The money that you would normally pay for a full meal you are encouraged to put into the Rice Bowl as a sacrificial gift. If you give up items for Lent, such as candy, chocolate, desserts, movies, you are encouraged to give the money that you would spend on such items to the Rice Bowl. At the end of Lent the Rice Bowl donations will be collected. Catholic Relief Services will distribute 75% of the funds to address world hunger and 25% of the funds will come back to be used locally to help the various food cupboards in our region. Rice Bowls are available at each of our churches. Please pray for the people this program assists and give your generous support.
This year we will be having a Parish Lenten Retreat on the evenings of Sunday March 18 to Wednesday March 21. Fr. Mark McDonald, M.S.C. who has served as Superior General of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart since 2006 will be our retreat leader. The retreat will be held at St, Patrick Church in Moravia. Each evening of the retreat a soup supper will be offered in the church hall followed by the retreat presentations by Father McDonald in the church. Father Mark McDonald will be preaching at all the weekend Masses on March 17/18 to introduce himself and to set the tone for the retreat. More information and details about the retreat will be forth coming. I encourage you to mark your calendar for these Retreat days and I hope that you will be able to attend. Arrangements for carpools will also be made.
Have a holy and a reflective Lent.
God bless you, Father Bill