STAFF NOTE: Please also see the end of the bulletin for two documents: “2021 Lenten Regulations for the Diocese of Santa Rosa” and “2021 Lent Calendar”.
……from your Pastor’s Desk
Wow, how fast this year is going! This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday – the beginning of Lent 2,021. Speaking of which, we will have 2 masses that day; 9am and 6:30pm [inside Church]. A tiny bit of dry ashes will be ‘sprinkled’, not smudged on your head, if you so choose. I included the following in a previous ‘Pre-Lent’ bulletin and have been asked to do so again. So, here Ya’ Go!
“10 Things to Remember for Lent”
- Remember the formula. The Church does a good job capturing certain truths with easy-to-remember lists and formulas: 10 Commandments, 7 sacraments, 3 persons in the Trinity. For Lent, the Church gives us almost a slogan—Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving—as the three things we need to work on during the season.
- It’s a time of prayer. Lent is essentially an act of prayer spread out over 40 days. As we pray, we go on a journey, one that hopefully brings us closer to Christ and leaves us changed by the encounter with him.
- It’s a time to fast. With the fasts of Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, meatless Fridays, and our personal disciplines interspersed, Lent is the only time many Catholics these days actually fast. And maybe that’s why it gets all the attention. “What are you giving up for Lent? Pizza? Wine? Chocolate?” It’s almost a game for some of us, but fasting is actually a form of penance, which helps us turn away from sin and toward Christ.
- It’s a time to work on discipline. The 40 days of Lent are also a good, set time to work on personal discipline in general. Instead of giving something up, it can be doing something positive. “I’m going to exercise more. I’m going to pray more. I’m going to be nicer to my family, friends and coworkers.”
- It’s about dying to self. The more serious side of Lenten discipline is that it’s about more than self-control – it’s about finding aspects of yourself that are less than Christ-like and letting them die. The suffering and death of Christ are foremost on our minds during Lent, and we join in these mysteries by suffering, dying with Christ and being resurrected in a purified form.
- Don’t do too much. It’s tempting to make Lent some ambitious period of personal reinvention, but it’s best to keep it simple and focused. There’s a reason the Church works on these mysteries year after year. We spend our entire lives growing closer to God. Don’t try to cram it all in one Lent. That’s a recipe for failure.
- Lent reminds us of our weakness. Of course, even when we set simple goals for ourselves during Lent, we still have trouble keeping them. When we fast, we realize we’re all just one meal away from hunger. In both cases, Lent shows us our weakness. This can be painful, but recognizing how helpless we are makes us seek God’s help with renewed urgency and sincerity.
- Be patient with yourself. When we’re confronted with our own weakness during Lent, the temptation is to get angry and frustrated. “What a bad person I am!” But that’s the wrong lesson. God is calling us to be patient and to see ourselves as he does, with unconditional love.
- Reach out in charity. As we experience weakness and suffering during Lent, we should be renewed in our compassion for those who are hungry, suffering or otherwise in need. The third part of the Lenten formula is almsgiving. It’s about more than throwing a few extra dollars in the collection plate; it’s about reaching out to others and helping them without question as a way of sharing the experience of God’s unconditional love.
- Learn to love like Christ. Giving of ourselves in the midst of our suffering and self-denial brings us closer to loving like Christ, who suffered and poured himself out unconditionally on cross for all of us. Lent is a journey through the desert to the foot of the cross on Good Friday, as we seek him out, ask his help, join in his suffering, and learn to love like him.
Happy Lent ! Father Ron
The New Normal?
One of the things about getting back to ‘Normal’ is deciding how much of the ‘Old Normal’ we are going to retain and how much we will change or add. This is our current plan, subject to adaptation as needed.
Ash Wednesday: 2 Masses. 9am and 6:30pm.
Stations of The Cross: All Fridays during Lent. 2 Services. 3pm and 7pm.
Weekend Masses: Saturday at 2pm, outdoors for the time being, weather permitting. In the case of heavy rain or high winds – for safety reasons – it will be indoors.
Sunday – 2 masses [both indoors] 8am and 10:30am.
Daily Mass: 9am. Mon, Wed, Thu and Fri.
On Tuesdays there will be a ‘Communion Service.
Confessions: Still working on a ‘set’ weekly time and day but call the office for an individual meeting if you wish.
First Saturdays and Holy Hour: Still gathering information regarding attendance.
Okay? So, hope this works.
And – masks and social distancing will be observed for ALL the above.