From the Desk of Father Tharp
Next Week Sunday Morning Masses March 1, 2020 Celebrant: Fr. Tharp
Catholic Ministries Appeal (CMA)
At the time this is written, we (St. Ann) have achieved nearly 50% of our target in gifts and pledges, but only about 9% of the parish has donated or pledged. Please remember that the Archdiocese relies on each parish to do its “fair share” so we can fund facilities like the Mt. St. Mary Seminary, Catholic Social Services and Catholic Charities, St. Rita School for the Deaf, Campus Ministries at Public Universities, Catholic Chaplains at public (non-Catholic) hospitals, Prison Ministries, New Evangelization, and retirement for Archdiocesan priests; purposes we could never achieve as individual parishes, but only when we work together as an Archdiocese.
Please prayerfully consider your donation.
Ash Wednesday is February 26
Ash Wednesday is this Wednesday (February 26). It is NOT a Holyday of Obligation. We begin the 40 days of Lent (six 6-day weeks [6X6=36] and 4 days the week of Ash Wednesday) remembering the forty days and nights Jesus spent in the desert. We use ashes from burned palms to remind us of the mortality of life in this world, and the endless days of resurrection in Christ.
Ashes will be distributed at each Mass at both parishes in our Pastoral Region. We will have the regular 6:30 a.m. Mass at St. Ann, 7:30 a.m. Mass at Sacred Heart. There will be a 7:00 p.m. Mass at Sacred Heart.
Remember that one need not be Catholic to receive ashes, but must receive respectfully and with a sincere penitential attitude.
Lenten Dietary Laws
During Lent, Catholics are asked to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays during Lent, and fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Abstinence simply means “abstaining from meat.” The flesh of mammals and birds (essentially any animal that is warm blooded) is considered meat. The flesh of reptiles, fish (cold blooded), bird “eggs” and cheese are not considered meat. The chicken itself is warm blooded and thus is considered meat. Anyone fourteen years of age or older who will not be physically harmed by the diet is asked to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays during Lent.
We define fasting for Lenten purposes as meaning eating only one regular meal and two smaller meals or snacks, with no eating between meals. Fasting only applies on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and then only to those between the ages of 18 and 59 who have no medical problem aggravated by the practice.
Stations of the Cross
During the Season of Lent, I will have Stations of the Cross and Benediction at St. Ann on each Friday evening at 7:00 p.m. I will have Stations of the Cross at Sacred Heart on the Sundays of Lent at 3:00 p.m. To the best of my knowledge, the Lay Presiders will still offer informal prayer of the Stations of the Cross at Sacred Heart at 7:00 p.m. on Fridays.
Reflection on Scripture
“The only person weighed down by a grudge is the one who carries it.” I have always heard this quote attributed to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. but I am unable to find the specific reference. The truth is “bearing a grudge against anyone” weighs us down. Both psychologically and philosophically it is an impractical response to injury.
Jesus says in today’s gospel, “Love your enemies!” Is Jesus espousing political or social pacifism? Or is Jesus saying that carrying a grudge or harming another has never quelled a violent heart? Jesus is saying that, when dealing with a personal grudge, you cannot fight fire with fire! Violence does not put out the fire of hatred in another’s heart. In fact violence may feed the flame. Forgiveness and generosity are the only effective extinguishers of violence.
Jesus was always practical. After all, he was a carpenter by trade. He was preaching the Sermon on the Mount, and he gave this teaching on the issue of “retaliation.” Basically he said that the most effective response to hate and violence is to extinguish it by forgiveness and charity. “Turn the other cheek” was a practical and effective response to violence. It does not mean we are morally prohibited from fighting to protect the innocent or using negative reinforcement in forming the conscience of another. It is simply a practical response as to how to extinguish a grudge.
Next Week: The First Sunday of Lent
Gn 2:7-9, 3:1-7
Theme: Being tempted is no excuse for sin.