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From the Pastor's Desk - February 10, 2013

Dear Parishioners,
This coming Wednesday, February 13, we begin the holy season of Lent as we celebrate Ash Wednesday.  I hope that as many who are able will come for Mass that day.  The Church provides us with the season of Lent for the purpose of being spiritually ready to celebrate the joy of Easter.  It is a time for those who will be baptized at Easter, known as catechumens, and for those who are already baptized in another denomination who desire to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church to undergo final spiritual preparations to receive the sacraments of initiation. As the Church readies these persons for the reception of these sacraments, all Catholics are challenged to renew themselves spiritually as well.  On Easter Sunday we will renew our baptismal promises to turn away from Satan and sin and to state that we believe in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and all that we profess in the Creed.  To this end it is a season of increased prayer, more intentional penances and sacrifices, and concentrating on the doing of works of charity, especially towards the poor.  All Catholics have the serious obligation to do, at least, the minimum that the Church obliges us to do: first, those 18 to 60 years old are to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, eating only one regular-sized meal with the other two meals being much smaller and not adding up to a regular-sized one while not eating anything in between meals, and, second, those 14 years and older are to abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent.  From Ash Wednesday until Pentecost Sunday we are also obliged to receive the Holy Eucharist at least once, and, in order to worthily do so, if we are conscious of having committed any mortal sins, then to go to Confession. Of course, it is to be hoped, that all of us will seek to do more than just this minimum that we are required to do, wholeheartedly choosing what we can do in terms of increased prayer, other penances and sacrifices, and works of charity. The most important thing is that we seize the opportunity of Lent to grow into a deeper love for God and our neighbor and seek to live the gift of our Catholic faith more fervently for that is the goal of all of our Lenten practices.  Please see the insert in this weekend’s bulletin that lists the extra Mass times and Confession times as well as other Lenten events such as the Stations of the Cross. As regards receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation remember that the whole Archdiocese will be participating in the “The Light Is On” campaign that encourages all of us to go to Confession during Lent. Hence, as I said last week, on five Thursdays of Lent (February 21, 28; March 7, 14, 21) all parishes in the Archdiocese, including St. Joseph, will have a scheduled Confession time from 5:30 to 7:00 P.M.  Hence you have an ample opportunity to go to Confession at any parish in the Archdiocese. Of course, parishes will have their regularly scheduled times as well, such as here at St. Joseph from 4:00 to 4:45 P.M. on Saturdays. Also, during Holy Week I have scheduled extra Confession times as well. Due to the extra opportunity for Confessions throughout Lent that the “The Light Is On” campaign, we will not have a parish penance service this year.
Again I make you aware that starting this Tuesday, February 12, and continuing to March 19, on six Tuesdays evenings here at church from 6:00 to 7:00 P.M., I am offering a series on making the Total Consecration to Our Blessed Mother that St. Louis de Montfort encouraged persons to make. You are welcome to come this Tuesday to find out what doing this consecration consists of and how to prepare for making it. It is a great choice to make as that extra spiritual practice that you can do during Lent. Instead of giving up something during Lent, you can make this your Lenten penance and prayer as the additional thing to do beyond the days of fast and abstinence that all must do during Lent. Sign-up sheets are available in the entry area of church, but, as I said, if you want just to come the first week to find out more before signing up, you are welcome to do so.
Have a wonderful and grace-filled week.
God bless,
Fr. Gutowski

This Week

Prayer Intention for the Week
For the sick: Joyce Cockerill, Kathy Ewing, Harriet Green,  Ted Riha, Duane Poser, Sally Leyden, Chrissy Skinner, Jerry Martin.

ACTIVITIES IN THE PARISH
Tues., Oct. 17, Ladies Guild, 7 p.m.
Wed., Oct. 18, RE, 6:15 p.m.