…..from your Pastor’s Desk:

This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Holy Season of Lent – the time we change our lives for the better in preparation for the Most Holy of days – Easter.
This raises a yearly question for each of us. What should I give up for Lent? Or, perhaps, what should I take on? Preferably – both! To make a more well-informed decision, I think it best to first address WHY we should do either – or both.
The goal is two-fold: That we realize there is value in denying ourselves every gratification, especially immediate ones, and secondarily, to learn the spiritual value of sacrifice. In our world today of wanting everything – and wanting it NOW – this is a great lesson to learn, or re-learn as the case may be. Good things are both worth waiting for and worth working for.
It is up to each of you personally to determine how best to achieve this, but here are some ideas: Perhaps giving up or modifying something like the consumption of chocolate or sweets, or pizza, or the amount of time per day spent playing video games, or internet surfing, or excessive texting, tweeting or twittering, or just watching TV is a great sacrifice for you. Perhaps making daily Mass a few times a week [speaking of which, I am adding a Wednesday evening mass at 6:30pm to accommodate those whose work or school
schedules conflict with the morning masses], or the Stations of the Cross on Fridays, or saying a daily rosary, or reading some of the Bible daily – or attending the Holy Hour on Thursdays – or being faithful to taking time to read the ‘Little Black Book’ of Lenten Mediations – any of which would involve some of your ‘free-time’ – would be a great sacrifice.
Again, it is up to you. What will teach you best the virtue of sacrifice? Pick something, pick even ONE thing and go with it. If you are not sure – ask God in prayer these next three days. You’ll know – BELIEVE me – you’ll know!
Remember – we add sacrifice to our lives not for its own sake, but to help us be more attuned to God and to those whose daily lives involve much sacrifice and suffering – the Body of Christ Crucified among us.
Regarding fasting – at the end of my writing is your official Diocesan Regulations. If you follow these – regardless of age – you will find it most edifying.
From its earliest days the Church has urged the baptized to observe the three-fold discipline of fasting, almsgiving (charity), and prayer in preparation for the celebration of Easter. As you will hear there is something very special and specific that I want us together, as a parish to reach to. I strongly encourage your participation.
During Lent the Church encourages attendance at daily Mass, self-imposed times of fasting, and giving generously to programs of sharing.

With deepest sincerity -I wish you a Holy, meaningful, productive, and yes, Happy Lent.

Father Ron

Lenten Regulations for the
Diocese of Santa Rosa

The current discipline is as follows:
Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fast and abstinence, that is, limited to a single, full meal and abstinence from meat.
The other Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence from meat.
The law of fasting permits only one full meal a day, but it does allow the taking of some food in the morning and a second light meal at noon or in the evening, as you prefer. Persons who have completed their eighteenth (18) year to the beginning of their sixtieth (60) year are obligated to fast.
The law of abstinence from meat applies to all persons who have completed their fourteenth (14) year of age. However, it is highly recommended that children from ages seven to fourteen years also follow the law of abstinence.
All Catholics are encouraged to receive Holy Eucharist frequently during Lent and to receive the Sacrament of Penance so that all may be prepared to celebrate more fully the paschal mystery. Those who have received their first Holy Communion are to receive Holy Communion during the Easter season.
The determination of these days of obligatory penance, as listed above, should not be understood as limiting the occasions for Christian penance. This penance is to help us see and shorten the distance between our present lives and the life God wants for each of us. “Penance should not be only internal and individual but external and social.” (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy #110)

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