By Fr. John Jasica
As we enter into the month of February, we draw close to the Lenten season which begins on Wednesday February 26 with Ash Wednesday.
The Lenten season is a very holy time of prayer, sacrifice and service. It beckons us to the fundamentals of our faith pulling us back into the light and grace of God so that we can be His faithful and loving servants. It calls us to let go of sin and embrace a new life of love. It really is a holy time that we as a parish embrace in a special way.
The theme of our Lenten journey is “Remembering God”. Our lives are so busy, so hectic and often times too noisy to stay close to God. It’s not intentional, but I think all of us get caught up in life and forget about the gift of faith in our lives. We become dismembered from our loving Father in heaven. The Lenten season calls us to RE-MEMBER, to re-attach, to re-connect and to re-ignite our relationship with our Divine Master who seeks to be at the heart of our lives.
All the activities and programs we are offering during Lent is calling us to remember God. I am hoping that you will take the time this upcoming holy season to rediscover God’s everlasting grace!!
(1) MOSAIC FAITH GROUPS
The parish staff is inviting everyone to sign up for a Monday night or Wednesday night faith sharing groups during the season of Lent. There is no prerequisites required—just an open heart to let God in and be willing to share the journey with others. This is not a bible study but a real chance for the Scriptures to come alive and speak to your heart. Each week the groups will reflect on the upcoming Sunday readings as a way to deepen the Lenten experience.
The MOSAIC faith groups will be lead by volunteer leaders and will include opportunities to share what the readings mean to you. It is a great way to build community, get to know more people in the parish and make a small commitment during Lent to grow deeper in faith and to REMEMBER GOD in our lives.
(2) MERCY MONDAYS
During the season of Lent, Fr. Pedro and I are making a deeper commitment as well. We will be offering an extra Mass on Monday nights during Lent as a way to make this season special. This is another evening Mass which allows for those working to attend Mass and make a stronger commitment to deepen faith and draw closer to God.
Following Mass on the Mondays of Lent, Fr. Pedro and I will be offering opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This is a powerful way to encounter Jesus in the midst of our lives. If you want a better understanding of forgiveness, take a look at our recent message series called BAGGAGE: THE IMPORTANCE OF FORGIVENESS at our parish website. Reconciliation is a powerful way for us to encounter Jesus, the freedom of the cross and the letting go of all those things that hold us back and weigh us down.
(3) FRIDAYS OF GRACE
On Fridays during Lent we are moving the Mass from the morning to the evening—another chance for people who are working to attend Mass during this sacred season. Following the Mass, we will walk the Way of the Cross, remembering the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
The great gift of the Stations of the Cross is that it allows us to better understand the sacrifice that Jesus embraced to free us from our sins. We use different versions of the stations so that we can get various perspectives and hear different reflections on the cross. It is a powerful and moving liturgical celebration that helps us see Holy Week in a very different light.
(4) LENTEN MINI-MISSION
“THE JOY OF LOVE” is the title of the Apostolic Exhortation by Pope Francis, which is a summary of two Synods of Bishops on the family. We will take two Sunday nights to see what Pope Francis says about the joys, challenges and needs of families in our world today.
He makes some amazing insights and helps us understand the need of families for the Church to continue sharing the Good News of salvation. There is no need to sign up so you can just join us and share your own experiences of family and see how the Church can continue to support families today as signs of hope and joy in our world today.
WHAT WILL YOU DO?
Lent is a time of conversion, renewal and peace. It is a time of action, service and outreach. It is a powerful time to RE-MEMBER GOD and place Him at the centre of our lives. In order to have a powerful Lent, we need to commit ourselves to some Lenten practices. Pray about and see where you can carve out some time for one or more opportunities we have here at the parish.
Like anything of value, taking the time to build our faith, renew our hearts and encounter our loving Saviour takes effort, energy and focus. Lent is our training season as disciples seeking to renew and reconnect our lives to Jesus who empowers us to live the resurrection.
If we risk and let God in this Lent, I guarantee you that it will change your life—for the better making you a sign of joy, light and hope in this world.