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From the desk of Fr. Speier 

Dear Parishioners:  

This coming Wednesday, February 14, is Ash Wednesday the beginning of the Lenten season. On Ash Wednesday, as part of our Eucharistic celebration, ashes will be blessed and distributed. As one is signed with ashes the prayer is prayed, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return”. For us this is a reminder that life is short and when our life on earth is ended we will meet the Lord face to face. 

Lent is a time for us to truly consider our life from the time we are born to the time we die. As with anyone’s life there are many ups and downs. At times we feel very close to the Lord and other times we distance ourselves by sin and the way we live our lives. Lent is a time of prayerful reflection of our journey to the Lord. 

 Lent is based on three disciplines: prayer, fasting and alms giving. These three disciplines give us a frame work for taking a good looking at the past year and the progress we have made and the growth we still need to accomplish in this life. 

 On Ash Wednesday we offer many celebrations for you to consider attending. The first will be the 7:00 am mass at St. Clement. The second is the 9:00 am mass at St. Catherine of Siena. At 11:30 am there will be a Communion Service with distribution of ashes at St. Clement Parish. We will then finish the day with a 7:00 pm mass at both of our parishes. This should give all of you plenty of opportunity to attend mass and receive ashes this Ash Wednesday. 

 Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fast and abstinence. On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday those between the ages of 18 and 60 are bound to one full meal on these days. The other two meals should not equal that one meal. Those between the ages of 14 and 60 are to abstain from meat on all Fridays of Lent. 

 These are the general rules that the church posts for the Lenten season. All of us, in addition to those rules, can do whatever we need to do to grow in faith during these Forty Days. Many give up things like sweets and candy and other habits we have during the year. These are all well and good. I would think that we can also consider some other works of mercy that will make this Lenten season more meaningful.

 Giving up thing will focus us more on our journey to the Lord. But we may consider spending more time in prayer each week of Lent. We may also consider attending mass more often during Lent and celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Another suggestions is for us to consider doing some works of mercy. These are just a few suggestions. I will speak more about Lent and our response in the coming weeks.