A Message From Father Brian

Dear Parishioners & Friends,

Even in the midst of the drab, gray weeks of winter, there seems to be so much going on that it’s hard to decide what to share with you this weekend . . .

Just last Sunday we officially kicked off the Catholic Ministries Appeal for 2018, with the formidable goal of raising $75,300 toward this Diocese-wide campaign to support the dozens of programs and organizations that foster the Church’s mission on Long Island.  St. Lawrence parishioners have been so steady in their generous response to the Appeal for years now (in 2017 we actually reached almost 108% of our goal) that I have little doubt we’ll see the same level of generosity this year.  We may never actually meet the people whom the “CMA” assists, or see their faces, but the willingness to open our hearts out of care for our neighbor is precisely what Jesus asks of his followers.  Please pick up a donation pamphlet at the doors if you haven’t received one in the mail.

Today [Sunday] is also our Appreciation Party for the hundreds of parishioners who participate in any kind of ministry or volunteer service here at the parish.  Unfortunately not all will be free to join the fun in the gym—which will look like the inside of a box of Valentine’s candy!—but the parish staff and I couldn’t be more grateful for the untold hours that are given to everything from coaching a CYO team to planting flowerbeds, teaching a 4th grade religion class to distributing Holy Communion, sitting on the Finance Committee to organizing the food pantry.  We are SO profoundly blessed that an ever-growing number of our parishioners are eager to support their community with  their gifts of  time and talent.  They are the good stewards without whom our church would be little more than a building, and we truly thank them!

This Wednesday is not only Valentine’s Day but the beginning of Lent (I’ve been practicing making ashes in the shape of a little heart!).  We begin the most penitential season of the Church year, begging our merciful God to wash over us with his forgiveness, and fortify us in a spirit of prayer, charity and self-denial. Lent can be an amazingly transformative time of year—if it’s approached in the right spirit, and not as a drudgery or mere obligation.  I invite you to take some time before coming to church on Ash Wednesday to ask the Lord’s guidance over the coming weeks . . . how can you best approach Lent at this particular time in your life

 What might your heart be most hungry for?  What habits, attitudes, or ways of relating do you most need to jettison from your life in order to resemble Jesus more?  A little bit of forethought can be a very profitable thing: ask the Lord in prayer to take your hand and show you how to let this Lent be the most enriching of your life.  If you do, it’s hard to imagine that Easter will be anything less than wondrous!

May Our Lady of Lourdes (whose feast is also today!), and St. Valentine, and our patron, St. Lawrence, pray for us.  God love you!  

 

 

THE QUESTION BOX

Just for fun—and some ongoing education—each week’s bulletin offers a question on our Catholic spirituality and tradition. Enjoy!

Question: :   What are the three spiritual "pillars" of our Lenten observance?

(a) confession, penance, and absolution
(b) the Stations of the Cross, the Rosary, and the Mass
(c) prayer, fasting, and almsgiving
(d) ashes, palm, and meatless Fridays

Answer:  Lent—which begins with Ash Wednesday this week—is a particularly rich time of the year in terms of our spiritual practice, and many people do make an earnest attempt to give themselves more wholeheartedly to following Christ as we prepare to celebrate his Passion and Resurrection.  Traditionally, the Church has urged her people to build their Lenten experience on three "tried and true" spiritual pillars, all of which are mentioned in the familiar Gospel for Ash Wednesday (Mt. 6:1-6, 16-18).  They are (1) prayer; (2) fasting (which encompasses any form of sacrifice or self-denial); and (3) almsgiving (or charity to those in need).  A Lent rooted in all three of these disciplines is almost sure to be a fruitful one.  May yours be your best Lent ever!  The correct answer is (c).   

 

 

 

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