Catholic Spring Training

03-06-2022From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

Today is the first Sunday of Lent. I always associate Lent with baseball’s Spring Training. Both happen at about the same time, and both have a similar purpose.
Ballplayers use Spring Training to get in shape for the upcoming baseball season. Catholics use Lent to get in shape spiritually.

As I write these words, I don’t know if baseball will even have a Spring Training this year. But, as Catholics, we need to get in spiritual shape just the same. Indeed, Lent is our yearly reminder to not be complacent about our relationship with Jesus.

Our parish is doing a few things to help everyone get in spiritual shape this Lent. Little booklets with daily meditations are on tables in the Church lobby. There are also some pamphlets on prayer. I hope they help you deepen your prayer life this Lent.

I would encourage everyone who is able to attend Daily Mass this Lent. If you can’t get to Mass Daily every day, try to get there once a week (over and above your regular Sunday Mass). Attending the Stations of the Cross on Fridays and making a good Confession are still other ways to improve your spiritual health this Lent. So is using the Rice Bowls or some other means to practice charity towards the poor.

Instead of a regular parish mission, we will have a series called Lenten Wednesdays this Lent. Every Wednesday of Lent at 7:00pm, there will be Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, a Lenten Homily, and Benediction. I would encourage you to attend as many of these as you can. Bringing your children is a good way to teach them about Benediction, one of our wonderful Catholic customs.

Our Masses take on a more somber tone during Lent. There is no singing of the Gloria or Alleluia. Statues are covered and there are no flowers near the Altar. We will use simple chants – in traditional Latin – for some of our Mass parts. The point of all this is simply to remind us that Lent is different from the rest of the Church year. It has a special character that calls us to repentance and spiritual growth.

Our choir will lead us in singing the Creed at the 11:00am Masses this Lent. The Creed is the most basic statement of our faith. Singing it during Lent reminds us that this is a time for each of us to grow in that faith!

Copies of our Parish Financial Statement are inserted into this weekend’s bulletin. They are accompanied by a letter giving some explanation, and inviting everyone to a Parish Meeting at 10:00am on Sun, Mar 20, in Mercy Hall. I look forward to seeing many of you there.

The events in our world, especially the war in Ukraine, remind us of our constant need to pray for peace. If you do not already pray the Rosary daily, this would be a good time to start. Our Blessed Mother, especially when she appeared at Fatima, has asked us to pray the Rosary for peace. Let’s listen to our Blessed Mother, and pray for peace.

While you’re at it, please say a Hail Mary for me today, and every day.

Have a great week!
Fr. John