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March 2019 Weekly Bulletin Messages

Trees

March 17, 2019 – Second Sunday of Lent

Redemption is coming to share in the freedom of Jesus whose freedom from himself was simultaneously a freedom for others.” (Professor VanBavel)

Dear Friends,

This quote from a beloved professor of mine in my seminary days fits right into where my heart is these days. I have been praying this Lent for freedom from all those little ego drives that can so fill a heart with worry and preoccupations. As we work on budgets for the four parishes, as the reality of poor neighborhoods hits home in the four other parishes I am financially responsible for running, as we start in earnest the Catholic Stewardship Appeal with needed goals to be met, as we try to raise the needed funds for the Habitat House… The list of financial worries goes on and on!

Even more importantly, my heart continues to break for victim survivors of clergy sexual abuse, and the divisions in our beloved church create such sadness. And this is only the worries of the church. I would need ten bulletin articles to articulate the division and worry about our current political and cultural state!

And then I think of Professor VanBavel, and his kind lectures in which he over and over proclaimed to us that a life for others is the key to redemption and happiness! And then I read this Sunday about Abraham and God’s promise that his descendants would be numerous as the stars of the sky, and then I experience the wonderful stewardship and generosity of you and our parishioners and others in so many ways for so many worthy causes…

And then I experience the church being what it is supposed to be and encouraging all to live in generous and forgiving love of others… Then like St. Peter at the Transfiguration, I say—“It is good that we are here!”

Have a great week.

Sincerely, with love,
Fr. Tim

March 10, 2019 – First Sunday of Lent

Dear Friends,

Happy First Sunday of Lent! I share with you these words from Pope Benedict XVI: “Lent is a favorable time for rediscovering faith in God as the basic criterion for our life and for the life of the Church. This always means a struggle, a spiritual combat, because the spirit of evil is naturally opposed to our sanctification and seeks to make us stray from God’s path. For this reason the Gospel of Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness is proclaimed every year on the First Sunday of Lent” (Angelus Address, Feb 17, 2013).

As I mentioned in last week’s article, this year’s theme for the season of Lent is “Building Hope”. I again share the following opportunities to “build hope”, as we each grow a little closer to Jesus:

Prayer. “Build hope” by growing in your relationship with God in prayer. In particular, consider attending:
+ Communal Reconciliation Service – Sat Mar 16, 10 AM @ St. Hedwig
+ Taize Prayer – 3/13 and 4/8
+ See the Bulletin, for weekly reflections on the Sunday readings written by various staff members.

Almsgiving. We are really excited to “build hope” for others in our support of Habitat for Humanity this year! Please consider giving generously in time and money as we help to build an entire house for a family in need. Habitat boxes will be available through ESCYM, Family Ministry, Catholic East Elementary, and in the back of Churches as together we work towards the very attainable goal of raising $50,000 for this project. See the bulletin for more information.

Fasting. “Build hope” by abstaining from food, drink, or entertainment in some way this Lent.

Sincerely, with love,
Fr John

March 3, 2019 – Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Friends in Christ,

“It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20). These words summarize the entire aim of the Church’s season of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday this week. If you will, Lent is a season in which we focus on “building” up the life of Christ that lives within us. God’s grace is always a pure gift, but every Lent we have a privileged opportunity to “build up” this life of grace and grow in holiness together.

This year’s theme for the season of Lent, aptly chosen by our staff, is “Building Hope”. Don’t we all need to “build hope”, in the sense of desiring ever more the kingdom of heaven and eternal life (cf. CCC, n. 1817)? Don’t we need to “build hope” for our world – especially the homeless and the poor – now more than ever? The following are some of the opportunities for us to “build hope” for ourselves and for others this Lent.

Prayer. “Build hope” by growing in your relationship with God in prayer. In particular, consider attending:
+ Communal Reconciliation Service – Sat Mar 16, 10 AM @ St. Hedwig
+ Taize Prayer – 3/13 and 4/8
+ Lenten Family Holy Hour – Sat Mar 9, 10 AM @ SSPP.
See the Bulletin, for weekly reflections on the Sunday readings written by various staff members.

Almsgiving. We are really excited to “build hope” for others in our support of Habitat for Humanity this year! Please consider giving generously in time and money as we help to build an entire house for a family in need. Habitat boxes will be available through ESCYM, Family Ministry, Catholic East Elementary, and in the back of Churches as together we work towards the very attainable goal of raising $50,000 for this project. See the bulletin for more information.

Fasting. “Build hope” by abstaining from food, drink, or entertainment in some way this Lent. Just don’t give up listening to my homilies! But seriously, whatever we fast from, it should help us better grow in the theological virtue of hope, where we desire ever more eternal life.

This Lent is a unique opportunity for each of us to “build hope” for ourselves and for others. I pray that by the time all of us reach Easter, we can more deeply say with Saint Paul: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me”.

With love and prayers,
Fr John