That’s right, in just eleven days we will enter into another season of our liturgical year; the season of Lent.   February 17th will be Ash Wednesday and the Christian world will call us to begin this very special journey of prayer and penance, a time to look into ourselves and seek those graces we need that we might walk more closely with our Lord in the time to come.  It is a time for us to look outward as well to discover the many ways we have and may find anew to share through works of charity to help one another as together we make this sacred journey.

Normally on Ash Wednesday each year our churches are filled and the faithful come to share in the celebration of the Eucharist, listen to the sacred readings that speak to our minds and hearts, and to receive the mark of blessed ashes on our foreheads to let those we encounter on this day know that we have taken the first steps on this pilgrimage that will lead us through the weeks of prayer and penance and take us to the celebration of the very beautiful and meaningful liturgies of Holy Week.  Again, these are days when so many of the faithful look to gather and pray and celebrate as the community of the faithful.  Let us hope and pray that the restrictions caused by the pandemic we have suffered through these many months will at least be relaxed a little to help us celebrate Lent and Holy Week… and of course Easter, in a more glorious way than we were able to do last year.

I have been thinking a lot about our coming journey of Lent lately realizing that because of the precautions we have been taking might limit the ways we will approach this blessed season of renewal of mind, heart and soul.  For everyone who may have to be especially careful and even home bound during these Lenten weeks, I am sure our weekly bulletin and televised programs through the use of our new camera systems in St. Mary’s and St. Patrick’s churches will be of great assistance.  Hopefully, at least in spirit, more of our faithful may be connected and in this way accompany one another as we make the best of our Lenten renewal as we can.

I am writing this advance column dedicated to our upcoming journey of Lent to let you know that I am going to endeavor to write messages dedicated to our Lenten journey on each of the Sundays of Lent.  I have been more confined to home for the past several weeks because of health issues which I hope will ease up soon but I am using a lot of this time preparing for the reflections I want to share with you during Lent.  May I ask for your prayers for me that I will at least be inspired to write the kinds of things you will find helpful and hopefully at least a little inspiring.

As we all continue our journey of this new year of 2021 may we all pray that it will be a more blessed, happy and healthy year than the past year. God bless you all!

Fr. Walt