Ash Wednesday

“Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the LORD, your GOD. For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment.”
– Joel 2:12-13

My Dear Friends in Christ,

BEST LENT EVER!! Hard to believe, tomorrow’s Ash Wednesday. Lent intimidates me: 40 dark days of sacrifice adding to my usual winter blah’s. But this year, God wants something different, SOMETHING MORE FOR YOU and FOR ME. God wants us to have the BEST LENT EVER: God offers us a time of blessing and grace to come back to God… even now. Rather than see simply a somber sojourn of sacrifice, allow this Lent to be an epic encounter with Jesus Christ bring you God’s love. No matter where we are or where we’ve been, no matter what we’ve done or failed to do, no matter how distant we’ve become or how indifferent and separated we’ve felt, God wants us close, not to judge or challenge or berate, but to love and comfort and console. Your Father who sees in secret will repay every effort and opportunity you allow. Yes, sacrifice is important as is evidenced by the millennia old traditions of the Church involving prayer, fasting, and charity that Jesus lays out in the Ash Wednesday gospel.

To allow that encounter, to experience God’s love, let alone to revel in it, quiet, meditative prayer is essential. You know as well as I that prayer is almost always difficult, and sometimes, even seems impossible. Our Lenten Message Series, “Even Now…” takes up this challenge and focuses on prayer: how we can encounter Jesus Christ; how we can allow God to love and strengthen us; how we can know and operate from the delight God takes in us and the identity that gives us. We’ll explore ways to start and deepen a prayer life using the Lenten readings, especially the Gospels, which show us the very heart of Jesus Christ. We’ll also use the saints from the rich tradition of the Church to help us the love God has for us and God’s desire to draw us close. We’ll start tomorrow with Saint Joseph, Foster Father of Jesus and Patron of the Universal Church. Joseph was one who struggled to discern God’s call, understand where God was leading him, and trust God enough to go where he was called. Just this past December, our Holy Father called for a special year of celebration of Saint Joseph 150 years after he was proclaimed Patron of the Universal Church.

Make a Lenten commitment now to join us throughout this season as we search for ways to encounter and welcome Christ through prayer so that, at Easter, we can look beyond the empty tomb (He is not there!) to find Him right here among us…  He has been raised…

Start that commitment tomorrow. Come and receive ashes as a way to mark you (literally!) you and your beginning this time of grace. We distribute ashes in a safe, socially distant way, using single use cotton swab to mark the forehead. Just drive up any time between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. to the main entrance of Holy Family and roll down your driver-side window.  We’ll impose Ashes and you can be on your way without ever getting out of your car. I’ll also be available for the Sacrament of Reconciliation during those times as well (save for from 9:00 a.m. – 10:15: a.m. when I’ll be saying Mass). If weather permits, I’ll be outside; if not, I’ll be in the Saint Joseph Chapel.  We’ll also re-broadcast at 7:00 p.m. the morning Mass on our website.

Let us pray for one another during this season of Lent, that each of us all of us may come to know and welcome Christ more profoundly as we seek to share God’s love with one another and the whole world. In this way, we can make it the BEST LENT EVER!!


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