Lent is off to a great start in our parish. It was nice to see lots of people at Church on Ash Wednesday. There was a good number at Stations of the Cross on Friday – and an upturn in Daily Mass attendance. I'm happy to see so many people making the most of this holy season.
There are still some copies of the book The Case for Jesus. This book, which was given out on Ash Wednesday, is a good thing to read for Lent. It makes the historical case for the truth about Jesus, and refutes a lot of the nonsense that we hear too often.
In a world where so many people have lost their way, it is important that we continually strengthen our faith – and that of others. I cannot help but think that so much of the despair and anger that leads to destructive and violent behavior in our country could be healed by a real relationship with Jesus.
I am sure that reading The Case for Jesus will deepen your faith and help you defend and explain it to others. My mom, to whom I gave a copy last week, found it so engrossing that she read most of it in a day. For what it's worth, she highly recommends it! I'll leave the extra copies in the Church lobby – or you can get one from Cathy at the office. They are free for the asking this Lent.
There are also extra Rice Bowls in the lobby for those who did not get one on Ash Wednesday. Last year our parish did a really nice job at filling those bowls for the poor. It was a wonderful display of generosity towards our neighbors.
I hope many of you will take advantage of the Lenten Parish Mission on Wednesday evenings. My hope is that each evening will offer you a time to pray, adore our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, hear a Lenten homily that gives you something to think and pray about, and receive our Lord's blessing in Benediction. The list of priests and deacons who will preach each week is in the bulletin, along with their topic. I hope that everyone gets to at least one, if not all, of these evenings.
We will have two priests on duty at the regular Confession times for the rest of Lent. This should help facilitate the hearing of Confessions. I will speak more about Confession in next week's bulletin, to help you prepare for your Lenten Confession.
On Monday, February 12, there was a nice little celebration among our clergy, office and maintenance staff. We were celebrating the 30th anniversary of our parish secretary, Cathy Steigerwalt. She has been a big help to many people in her 30 years of service. If you get a chance, take a minute to congratulate and thank her for her long time dedication to our parish.
Please remember to say a Hail Mary for me today, and every day. I pray for all of you daily. Let's also pray for the victims of the recent school shootings and their families. My heart goes out to these poor souls. Finally, let's all pray for peace in our world – and in the hearts of all people.