Dear Brothers and Sisters,
It’s that time of the year in which we prepare ourselves for the 40 days of suffering, deprived of what we like the most, trying to remember to avoid meat on Fridays. It’s also known as Lent! This time is often seen by people as a difficult time because of the penances that we choose, and because we have to go to confession; as a time that takes our spiritual life up a notch.
I would propose we see Lent in a different way. Instead, we could imagine this time as a Spiritual Retreat, or even as a Spiritual Vacation! Instead of focusing on the hardships, deprivations, sacrifices as something negative, let’s spin it around and look at it from a different perspective. Would you be happy to receive graces, give up bad habits, be kind to people, and get closer to God? This is what Lent is about!!! I remember once a homily in which the priest was asking how not drinking coffee, soda, or alcohol, eating candy or watching TV would help a person to love Jesus more. He went on asking people that instead of giving something up, someone could do something else! For instance, one could start going to daily mass, pray the rosary every day, read one chapter of the Gospel a day, pray the stations of the cross every Friday, etc. Of course, there is a spiritual value for us to abstain from something we like out of love of God, but his point was to do something else as well. The priest finished by suggesting that we could abstain from TV, food, radio, and use that time to pray, to read a spiritual book.
I invite you to see what our parish has to offer this Lenten season. We will continue to have our daily masses at 7:30am (with Adoration from 6:30am-7:30am). We will also have stations of the cross every Friday at 6pm in the Upper Church in English, at 7pm in Spanish in the Upper Church, and 7:30pm in Portuguese in the Chapel. Adoration and Confession will be offered every Wednesday in the main Church from 6pm-7pm. “The light is on for you” is an initiative in the Archdiocese of Boston in which confession will be offered in the parishes on Wednesday evenings. Two priests will be in the Church to hear confessions every Wednesday. In case someone cannot come on Wednesday or Saturday (from 3-4pm), please call us at the office and we will be happy to schedule another time for confession. In addition to that, the Archdiocese will hold two all day workshops on discipleship on March 7th & 28th. Lastly, starting on March 9th, we will have a series of one hour talks on Mondays and Thursdays at 7:30pm in Meehan Hall – the school hall. These talks will be given by a team from the Neocatechemunal Way. Benedict XVI said that “…to help the men of this our time to meet Jesus Christ, man’s redeemer, constitutes the mission of the Church and of every baptized person. The Neocatechumenal Way is part of this ecclesial mission of the Church as one of the many ways raised up by the Holy Spirit through the Second Vatican Council for the new evangelization.” Saint John Paul II said that “The parish can grow authentically in the experience and on the basis of the neocatechumenal experience; it would be like the renewal of the early community that grew out of the catechumenal experience.” Pope Francis also spoke of this reality as a “gift of the Holy Spirit for the Church”. These talks are for everyone, adults and youth ages 13 and up. If you have younger children, please bring them – the parish will provide child care for those who need it. Whether you are going through a difficulty, a problem, have questions, or are simply looking for a way this Lent to help you to grow in and deepen your faith, I want to encourage you all to come and to listen and enter this time of Lent with an open heart.
Father Steven Clemence