3rd Sunday of Lent Year B
I am the Lord your God … You shall not have other gods beside me. —Ex 20:2-3.
One of the greatest golfers of all time — if not the greatest — was Jack Nicklaus. Which is why it is baffling that at the beginning of each season he would return to his childhood coach and re-learn how to grip the golf club. It’s like Shakespeare re-learning the alphabet and grammar. Why would he do that? Because Jack knew that the fundamentals are always relevant. Perfecting and obsessing over his grip allowed him to do everything else in the game well. In sports and life, the best ones love the basics. Similarly, as we begin Lent, we re-learn the spiritual basics in the Ten Commandments. Consider the first, to “have no other gods besides me.” This is our “grip.” Is our connection to God one of absolute fidelity and exclusive worship? Am I willing to let go of my precious idols, the things I cling to instead of God? Once we say “yes” to this fundamental question of our spiritual “grip,” then we are ready to properly engage with everything else in life. Watch how beautifully the game of life unfolds in the next nine commandments (numbered in parentheses): how we speak to God and others (2 and 8), how we organize our week (3), how we relate to our family (4) and the wider community (5 and 7), how we live our sexuality (6), and how we order all the other desires of the human heart (9 and 10). But don’t rush to these later Commandments too soon! Everything in life is built on the first Commandment. The more we focus on worshiping God alone, the better we navigate the complexity of life with panache, effectiveness, and love. Lenten challenge: This week, identify what you can do to better worship God alone. If you’re not sure, scan the last nine commandments to identify what you are most likely to worship instead of God. Power, pleasure, control of your time, possessions, family, health, reputation, money? Commit to concrete action to help you let go of this “idol” to better hold on to God alone in faithful worship. Remember: the best love the basics. — Father John Muir
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Some of you may have already heard the story of my birth but for those of you that have not:
I was born a month and half early. I was born at home because there was a blizzard the day I was born and my parents could not get out of the house. My father delivered me and a neighbor cut the umbilical cord for the EMTs did not arrive until after I had arrived. The ambulance took me and my mom to the hospital where I was placed in an incubator. My lungs were not fully developed so breathing was difficult. I could not swallow so eating and drinking were not possible. The doctors proceeded to feed me intravenously with great difficulty for each vein they tried collapsed – they tried both wrists, both ankles all of which failed and ultimately used a vein in my head to feed me. The doctors told my parents to prepare themselves, for I was not going to survive…I was going to die. They pretty much gave me zero percent chance of living. My parents had the priest come to the hospital to baptize me with knowledge I would not ever get the chance to be brought to the church. My life would be coming to an end. However, I obviously lived. How did this happen with being given no chance of surviving by the doctors? Some will tell you it is because I have always been stubborn and when I heard the doctors say I would not live, I had to prove them wrong. Sounds like a good theory. However, the truth of the matter is that I lived because my parents prayed and had faith that a miracle would be granted. My brothers and sisters, if you ever have doubts that prayers are answered or that miracles happen, just think of me for as of Sunday I am living and breathing proof for 55 years and counting that miracles happen.
God Bless you and have a wonderful week, Fr. Michael
2024 LENTEN REGULATIONS
The days of both Fast and Abstinence during Lent are Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. If possible, the fast on Good Friday is continued until the Easter Vigil as the “paschal fast” to honor the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus, and to prepare ourselves to share more fully and to celebrate more readily His Resurrections. The other Fridays of Lent are days of Abstinence. On a day of Fast, only one full meal is permitted and two smaller meals, which, if added together, would not exceed the main meal in quantity. Those between the ages of 18 and 59 are obliged to fast. On a day of Abstinence, no meat may be eaten. Those who have reached the age of 14 are obliged to abstain. The obligation to observe the laws of Fast and Abstinence “substantially” or as a whole is a serious obligation. The Fridays of the year, outside of Lent, are designated as days of penance, but each individual may substitute for the traditional abstinence from meat some other practice of voluntary self-denial as penance. The time for fulfilling the Paschal Precept (Easter Duty*) extends from the First Sunday of Lent, February 18 to The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, May 26, 2024.
*All the faithful, after they have been initiated into the Most Holy Eucharist, are bound by the obligation of receiving Communion at least once a year.
2024 Archbishop’s Annual Appeal
The 2024 Annual Appeal is underway. We have $6,512.00 pledged towards our assigned parish goal of $13,435. Thank you to those who have already pledged. We surpassed our goal last year and received a rebate of a little over $1,400. We also received a reduction of $2,831 in the Annual Assessment we have to pay the Archdiocese. If you have not yet made a gift, there are envelopes in the pews and in the back of church that you can fill out and put in our weekly collection or you can visit www.rcan.org/sharing. If you make a pledge directly to the Archdiocese, please let Sue know in the office so we can be sure our account is properly credited. You can drop a note in the collection, call the rectory or send us an email. Your gift will truly make a difference. Thank you for your prayers and support.
SCRIPTURAL REFLECTIONS ON STEWARDSHIP
“’Here I am!’ he answered.”
It is easy to say “Here I am, Lord,” when we are kneeling in church. But how easy is it to say “Here I am, Lord,” when a neighbor needs our help, or when we are invited to join a parish ministry, or when we are asked to provide financial support? Often times we are called when it’s not convenient for us. Discipleship is not easy, most of the time it will make us uncomfortable and vulnerable.
That God will relieve their suffering and restore them to health. Please pray for Please pray for: Kellie Salata, Kelly Chinchar, Jessica, Daniel Breslin, Stanley, Helen Traina, Joseph Marrone, Bill Marshall, Anthony, Michael, Joseph, Jessica Esopo, William, Steve, Audra, Bernadette, James Weiss, Baby Ford, Rosemary Malangone, Elizabeth Malangone, Sue West, Danny, Colleen Emery, Richard, Joan Russo, Christina Martin, Mornia Evans, Valerie Valverde, Diana McGuckin, Pat Peterson, Manny Scarangella.
The gift of Bread & Wine for the first two weeks of February has been given in memory of Leonard Sebastian Falato by his family. The second two weeks have been given in memory of Carmela & John Uzzalino by Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Roman.
The Sanctuary Lamp for the month of February has been given in memory of John Jashembowski by Linda J. Sylvestri.
Please consider sponsoring our Bread & Wine, Altar Flowers, and the oil for the Sanctuary Lamp.
We appreciate and are very thankful to all our parishioners and friends who continuously support our church. God bless us all.
To all our Lectors and Catechists or Religious Education Teachers, thank you very much. God bless you all!
Thanks to Rose and Lenny Sunga for the orchids and to the Sanzari Family for the altar flowers and to all who help and support our church.
Catholic Charities received $984 as a result of our generosity to our Donation Bin behind the Church from 6/1/23 to 11/30/23. These funds combined with monies from other parishes enabled Catholic Charities to show the compassion of Christ through 94,019 mental health services provided to 3,665 people. Thank you for enabling them to bring Christ’s love to the most vulnerable in our society. Please remember – do not leave anything outside the bin. If the bin is full, please come back in a week or so after the bin has been emptied.
Opportunities for Parish Support
There are several ways you can help support our parish and honor loved ones at the same time. As you may have noticed on the first Sunday of every month in our bulletin, we thank the donors of our Altar Gifts. You can donate the Bread & Wine, Altar Flowers, or the Sanctuary Lamp in a two-week block for $50 in someone’s memory. We have blocks open for this year. We also need to purchase a new Easter candle each year (the tall candle on the altar) for $300-$400 which can also be donated in someone’s memory. You do not have to fund the entire amount, anything you wish to donate towards the purchase of our Easter candle is appreciated. We also have masses available for your intentions. If you wish to honor someone in any of these ways, please call the rectory.
Prayer for our Nation
God our Father, giver of life, we entrust the United States of America to your loving care. You are the rock on which this nation was founded. You alone are the true source of our cherished rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Reclaim this land for your glory and dwell among your people. Send your Spirit to touch the hearts of our nation’s leaders. Open their minds to the great worth of human life and the responsibilities that accompany human freedom. Remind your people that true happiness is rooted in seeking and doing your will. Through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, patroness of our land, grant us the courage to reject the “culture of death.” Lead us into a new millennium of life. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Praying the ROSARY
The Rosary is a meditation, a time to recall and think about the life of Jesus as seen and experienced by Mary. As the model of faith, Mary’s life sets a pattern that we strive to follow: saying ‘yes’ to God’s will in our lives and sharing His love and message with others. The Mysteries of the Rosary form a mini lesson of faith, using the highlights and significant moments of the life of Jesus. Like paging through a family scrapbook, we see in brief the events of salvation history that are the core of our belief and the hope of our eternal life.
OUR ADVERTISERS OF THE WEEK
WE NEED BULLETIN ADVERTISERS!!
We would like to thank all the advertisers who have supported us throughout the past year. Our parish benefits greatly from the ads you see in the bulletin. The revenue pays for the printing which is an important means of communication for the parish. If we do not have enough advertisers, the cost of our bulletin goes up. We thank the local businesses that advertise with us especially in these tough economic times. We have some spaces on the back of our bulletin that need filling so if you would like to advertise your business as well as benefit your church, please contact John Patrick Publishing at 1-800-333-3166.
***CALENDAR IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE***