Bulletin (February 25, 2007)

I hope your observance of Lent has gotten off to a good start. On Ash Wednesday I quoted from Fr. Robert Barron S.T.D., a seminary professor at the University of St. Mary of Lake and a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Here is what Fr. Barron wrote:

The Church traditionally says there are three things we ought to do during Lent, and I put stress on the word do. I think in recent years we've emphasized the interior dimension a little too much: that Lent is primarily about attitudes, about ideas and intentions. In the traditional practice of the Church Lent is about doing things, things that involve the body as much as the mind, that involve the exterior of your life as much as the interior. The three great practices of Lent -- prayer, fasting and almsgiving -- are three things you do. This is going to sound a bit strange, but my recommendation for this Lent is, in a certain way, to forget about your spiritual life -- by which I mean forget about looking inside at how you’re progressing spiritually. Follow the Church's recommendation and do three things: pray, fast and give alms.

Regarding prayer, you will find information in the pamphlet racks and on the bulletin boards on how to say the rosary. Please consider the possibility of praying the rosary each day during Lent. Also, twenty four hours a day, Holy Family Parish offers silent prayer before Jesus, truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. Just come and place yourself before our Lord. During Lent we have Stations of the Cross every Friday at 6 p.m. (preceded by Soup Supper). And, as I mentioned, in last Sunday’s bulletin, during Lent, we will have many opportunities to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, including this Thursday evening from 6 to 8 p.m., Friday evenings at 7 p.m. and the Archdiocesan Day of Reconciliation (March 24). In a pastoral letter on the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Archbishop Gomez of San Antonio had this to say:

Jesus and his apostles listed many different types of sins. “All wrongdoing is sin,” the apostle John said (1 John 5:17). Our everyday faults, also known as “venial” sins, weaken our love for God and for our neighbor, but they do not deprive us ultimately of his grace and friendship. Certain sins, however, can cause the love in our hearts to grow cold and die. These sins involve transgressions of God’s laws as set forth in the Ten Commandments. The commandments define our obligations to love God and our neighbors. Our Lord said that if we want to enter into eternal life we must keep the commandments (Matt. 19:16–19). However, if we choose to break one of these commandments with full knowledge that what we are doing is sinful, we commit “mortal” or deadly sin (1 John 5:16-17). “One commits a mortal sin when there are simultaneously present: grave matter, full knowledge, and deliberate consent.” Mortal sins destroy the bonds of grace and love that unite us to God and to his Church. We must confess these sins and seek God’s forgiveness in the sacrament of reconciliation. Failure to seek God’s mercy in the sacrament puts our eternal souls at risk, and can result in our spiritual death. I realize that such language about sin and judgment is rarely heard anymore. Under the influence of our highly secularized society, we have lost that lively awareness of what the Church’s tradition calls the “four last things”: death, judgment, hell, and heaven. But we are called to a mature faith, my brothers and sisters. We want to stand confidently before our Lord, with full assurance that we know his will for our lives (1 Cor. 14:20; Eph. 4:13; Col. 4:12). We must not let ourselves be confused or led astray by a culture that would have us avoid truths of the Gospel we might find challenging or uncomfortable.

Finally, I want to invite you to First Friday Mass (March 2, 8:30 a.m.) which will be followed by the dedication of our pre-school classroom in honor of Al and Nell Wheeler. Many of you knew Al, a most dedicated member of Holy Family Parish, who passed away in 2001. Here is a picture of Nell Wheeler, who at the school auction last spring, won the dinner at Salty’s with Fr. Ramon and me, our principal, Glen Lutz, and his wife Yvonne. Attending the dinner with Nell were Bob and Dorothy Atkins, as well as Adam and Myrt Petronis. I should mention that they are all stalwart members of our parish St. Vincent de Paul Society. You can talk to any of them if you want to know more about the work of St. Vincent de Paul. We need compassionate and caring people who can assist in this work. As part of your Lenten prayer, please consider if you are called to this service to needy brothers and sisters, right in our parish neighborhood.

Este sábado tenemos la presencia del Obispo Eusebio Elizondo para la bendición de los miembros de Adoración Nocturna. Es una oportunidad para todos nosotros considerar la posibilidad de dedicar una hora cada semana para oración ante Jesús, realmente presente en el Santísimo Sacramento. Aquí hay la Oración de Santa Teresa de Lisieux al Amor de los Amores, Jesús Sacramentado

Sagrario del Altar el nido de tus más tiernos y regalados amores. Amor me pides, Dios mío, y amor me das; tu amor es amor de cielo, y el mío, amor mezclado de tierra y cielo; el tuyo es infinito y purísimo; el mío, imperfecto y limitado. Sea yo, Jesús mío, desde hoy, todo para Ti, como Tú los eres para mi. Que te ame yo siempre, como te amaron los Apóstoles; y mis labios besen tus benditos pies, como los besó la Magdalena convertida. Mira y escucha los extravíos de mi corazón arrepentido, como escuchaste a Zaqueo y a la Samaritana. Déjame reclinar mi cabeza en tu sagrado pecho como a tu discípulo amado San Juan. Deseo vivir contigo, porque eres vida y amor.

Al mismo tiempo quisiera invitarles a recibir el Sacramento de Reconciliación: Este jueves (primer jueves de marzo) de 6 a 8 p.m., todos los viernes de Cuaresma a las 7 p.m. y durante el Día Arquidiocesano de Reconciliación, el 24 de marzo. Ese Día tendremos nuestra Caminata Anual a la Catedral de St. James. Todos son invitados.