“Turn away from sin and believe the Good News!”  These are words you may have heard as you received blessed ashes this past Wednesday. These are words that each of us, regardless of our ages or genders or professions or socio-economic backgrounds, would do well to take to heart. In fact, if Lent is to work its power in our lives, we must take them to “heart.” Believing the Good News of the Gospel is not a matter of our minds but of our hearts—that deep-down part of ourselves that is the core of who we are as God’s daughters and sons.

With God’s grace I can take steps towards turning away from that which keeps me from being all that God has created me to be as his precious child. I can trust more that his will for me is my happiness and that following his commands will satisfy the longing of my heart.  Like any loving parent, he only wants what is best for me.  Admittedly, like most children, I often think I have a better way, and that invariably leads to misery. But God, rich in mercy, offers me a new beginning. Lent provides me that opportunity.

There will be numerous opportunities here at St. Clement during these next weeks for you to enter more deeply into the joy of this season.  Hopefully you took home one of the magnet-calendars of Lenten events last weekend. Or perhaps you picked up a booklet off of the table in the commons which could offer inspiration. Keep listening to the announcements for more opportunities.  Of course, the greatest source of grace would be more frequent celebration of the Eucharist. Each morning at 7 am. (on Saturday at 8 am.), we gather in the Friars Chapel for our daily Mass which lasts no longer than 30 minutes.  Fr. Jim and I will do our best to offer insights into the powerful daily Scripture readings. The Scriptures together with the Eucharistic banquet will give us energy to face the challenges of the day.

This past Monday, the friars gathered to celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial for our Brother Joe Haley, OFM.  Bro. Joe’s siblings and other family members and friends joined us for the liturgy.  Most recently, Bro. Joe was a resident at St. Margaret Hall on the eastside of the city where he was dealing with Parkinson’s Disease.   Prior to that he lived and ministered here at St. Clement—as our daily Mass sacristan and librarian.  Joe had just turned 75.

The parish also mourns the passing of parishioner Patricia Kuderer who was buried at St. Mary’s Cemetery this Thursday morning.  Pat had been dealing with cancer for some time. Both Fr. Jim and I had the privilege of anointing her and praying with her husband Ken at different times recently. A memorial Mass will be celebrated at a later time. Our deepest sympathy to Ken and to the children and family. 

And on Saturday morning, we celebrated the Mass of Christian Burial for 85 year-old Eileen Fiebig who grew up in St. Clement and attended OLA High School.  I was privileged to meet with daughter Jane and son Ken to prepare the Mass. Eileen died on Feb. 28.

Our faith assures us that our brothers and sisters in the faith rest in the eternal embrace of the Lord.  May all who grieve their passing be blessed with abiding peace. They now have special advocates spurring them on to victory In their own journeys through life.