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Notes from Fr. Vitalis

Lent is God’s Way of Drawing Us Back to Himself.


Dear Parishioners,

The annual Lenten season started last week with Ash Wednesday and runs until the Mass of the Lord’s Supper exclusive on Holy Thursday. The rituals of Ash Wednesday further explained the days ahead and the discipline that accompanies Lent. Lent   begins with light which seems a bit strange, considering this season is generally associated with darkness, with purples, grays and muted hues.


One would think that light has little to do with Lent.  But Lent begins with light-- with a bright burning fire. That’s where the ashes of Ash Wednesday come from. It began with a day of universal fast and abstinence in the Church. Ashes were blessed and imposed after homily or outside the Mass. These ashes are branches of the olive trees, or from the palm branches which have been blessed the previous year Palm Sunday.


The ceremony of the ashes takes us into the spirit of Lent with the message calling us to a life of Gospel conversion. It is not all about gloom and doom, but it’s about salvation and the God who sent his Son to enliven and enlighten us. Our Lenten Scripture readings will speak of beginning anew, of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. Lent is the penitentiary season. It recalls our baptism, the beginning of God’s life in us. Lent also reminds us of sin and our weaknesses. It leads us to a greater dependence on Christ as we move toward Holy Week; we journey with the Lord to Calvary and share in his Paschal Mystery.


He is the only one who saves us from our miserable condition; it is his merciful gaze which awakens and transforms us. Lent is God’s way of drawing us back to himself in love. No matter what our defects may be, no matter the gravity of our failures, or the frequency of our forgetfulness of God, the Lord asks for us again this Lent. Let us not allow moments of discouragement and our spiritual failures to drag us into a hole of hopelessness. Christ has come to teach us how to overcome evil.


I hope and pray that it will be a time for spiritual growth for you and your family. As you come to understand all that God has done for you, may your love for him grow stronger with each day. In the days ahead there might be days when our frailty and discouragement appear overwhelming. God is never far from you. Be strong!  Remember sin is a tragedy and in no way part of God’s plan; it was humanity’s undoing. Let us stand firm for God is compassionate, slow to anger and rich in mercy.


Here’s an idea! Give up one possession every day and bring joy to those who will receive it. Our parish will participate in a spiritual exercise out of Tidying Up! with focus on Generosity.


Be aware of your blessings; show your thankfulness by sharing some of your possessions. Ask the Lord to let you know what should go. Free Lent 2024 bags (33 gal) are available in the back of the church. Please take it home and put whatever you want to share with the poor. A St. Vincent de Paul Society truck will be in the Holy Cross parking lot on Palm Sunday weekend March 23/24 for pick up.


Sincerely yours in Christ

Fr. Vitalis Anyanike