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February 21/22 From the Pastor's Desk...

My Dear Parishioners,

Last weekend I was at an Engaged Encounter at St. Norbert Abbey with 21 couples preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage, and three married couples made the presentations. I always come away from those weekends with a renewed appreciation of our Catholic married couples and a great deal of hope in the future because of our young people preparing to receive this Sacrament. I find that my participation and involvement in the weekend energizes me in my vocation as priest and pastor.

This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday and the first day of the Season of Lent. Ashes will be given out after the homily at the 8 am Mass and the 7 pm Mass in the evening. Lent is a time during which the Church calls us to RENEWAL, to CHANGE, to GROW IN OUR FAITH. Traditionally, the Church calls us to practice Fasting, Praying and Alms Giving (or reaching out to those in need). During Lent we invite you to participate in our annual “OPERATION RICE BOWL” program which can involve everyone in the family from the youngest child to the oldest senior. All of our Lenten practices have one purpose – to take our attention and focus on ourselves and to have us focus on God and others. This year we continue our practice here at Holy Cross of making available to every member a copy of the “Little Black Book for Lent 2009.” These books are available in the front entrance of our Church, and there should be enough for each parish unit to have one. Each day provides us with thought that take about 5 minutes. One idea is to initiate a family Lenten practice of reading the day’s passage either before or after the family meal and then having time to reflect and perhaps discuss it.

The official Church regulations for Lent are as follows:
1. Catholics who have celebrated their 14th birthday are to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, all Fridays in Lent and Good Friday.

2. In addition to abstaining from meat, Catholics who have celebrated their 18th birthday, until they celebrate their 59th birthday, are to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Those who are bound to this regulation may only eat one full meal. Two smaller meals are permitted if necessary to maintain strength according to one’s needs, but eating solid foods between meals is not permitted.

3. These minimal penitential practices should not be lightly excused.

“Oremus Pro Invicem”
Fr Tom

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