Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
We begin Lent on Wednesday. We will celebrate Mass at 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. and distribute ashes after each of the celebrations. We will also have some small envelopes with ashes which you may bring home for folk who are unable to attend Mass through illness, etc.

The person who marks your forehead with the ashes challenges us gently by saying, “Repent and  believe in the gospel.” Another longstanding option is, “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

I like the first option better because at this stage of my life, I want to think about preparing to meet the Lord, not becoming a pile of dust. After all, ‘gospel’ means ‘good news.’ The good news is that I am loved by God.  In the gospel, God, through Jesus, is constantly sending an invitation of love. For us on Ash Wednesday, the invitation is reflected in the words, “Repent and believe in the gospel.”

I want to try, and respond with, “I repent of the things that took my attention away from Your invitation, Your ‘Good News.’” It boils down to, “I’m really sorry.” It’s amazing how many times I’ve said that and amazing how many times the Lord has listened. Otherwise I would be ash, ‘toast’ as the saying goes.

If a smudge of ash on your forehead will remind me that I need to get my act together, then I’ll look for your smudge... either that, or stand in front of a mirror all day and stare at my own smudge. (Somehow that’s a Plan B that hasn’t got a snowball’s chance in the Sahara.)

We had a pleasant surprise in the last couple of weeks. Our original Lenten Parish Mission leader was unavailable. But the Lord taketh and the Lord giveth. Happily, Father Richard Sudlik, OMI, can come to us the week before Palm Sunday. It’s going to be a great lead-in to Holy Week. He will preach all the Masses on March 17-18 and then we will have morning and evening sessions Monday thru Wednesday Mar. 19-21.

When the Oblates of Mary Immaculate had missions in our Archdiocese, Father Sudlik had some assignments here, so he’s no stranger to South Florida. We’ll put his bio in the bulletin in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, you need to begin to pray for him now, even as we pray for each other, that our parish mission will preserve us as special people, marked not only by ashes, but marked by a faith rooted in love.

Shifting gears a little bit, in the next couple of weeks you will begin to notice a transformation in the area of the northeast corner of the main sanctuary building. (You know I mean church, but I hope someday to convince everyone that people are church, and buildings are buildings.)

Anyway, thanks to Chris O’Connor we will have a prayer garden dedicated to his parents, Pat and Nelly O’Connor. A striking mosaic of Our Lady, Star of the Sea will be the focal point. The mosaic is already completed in the wonderful studio of Conrad Pickel in Vero Beach and awaits our call for installation. Conrad’s son Paul, continues his father’s artistic excellence.

I know Chris has wanted this to happen quicker than it has thus far, but I think all the pieces are in place. We’ve picked a dedication date, but I am too Irish to announce the date until three weeks after it has happened, just to make sure. Pray for our contractor Alex Rodriguez as well as Rob McIntire, the architect.

In Jesus,
sign frjim

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