Father Fred Link, O.F.M.

     Lent began this past Wednesday.  I would imagine that most of you were at Mass and received blessed ashes.  By receiving ashes, we “enter upon the season appointed for spiritual purification.” Ashes “express the human condition as affected by sin,” affording us the chance to “outwardly profess our guilt before God” . . . and to “express our desire for inward conversion.”  That’s a lot, isn’t it? These quotes are taken from the Ceremonial of Bishops, approved by Pope St. John Paul II and published in 1984.  In another very important Church document, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, the first document of the Second Vatican Council, approved by Pope Blessed Paul VI in 1963, we read, “Lent is marked by two themes, the baptismal and the penitential,” and notes that the “baptismal and penitential aspects of Lent are to be given greater prominence in . . . the liturgy.” Lent officially runs from Ash Wednesday until the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, which marks the beginning of the East Triduum of the Passion and Resurrection of Christ, which is the “culmination of the entire liturgical year.”

     I love the way Bro. Vince has prepared our church for this holy season.  The starkness of decorations, the prominence of the crucifix, the bare trees in the sanctuary and around the baptismal font, all support the penitential aspect.  The baptismal feature will be given prominent attention in the Sunday liturgies, as we accompany a number of individuals active in the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). While much attention will properly be given to these folks, each of us is called to rekindle the fire of our baptismal profession.  Lent affords us all the opportunity to begin again, to deepen our commitment to the Lord Jesus, to really enter into the mystery of his dying and rising.  You and I will rise with him on Easter, that’s a promise, but only if we are willing to enter into his dying by trying harder to “die” to our selfish ways, our judgmental ways, our hurtful ways. 

       The parish will provide lots of opportunities for each one of us to fully  celebrate the spirit of these 40 days: daily Masses, “We’ll Keep the Light on for You,” our Lenten Reconciliation service, the Way of the Cross on Friday evenings, solemn Evening Prayer on Sunday evenings, etc. Check your bulletins carefully for more details as events unfold.

     We have turned the corner big time on the work on the roof.  I’m writing this on Tuesday; roofers have been aggressively moving forward with the laying of shingles and should most likely have completed this by this    weekend.  I believe the work on the front steeple will also be finished.  There is still the work on the masonry around the church yet to be done. Of course, we’re very much at the mercy of the weather.  Thank you for your patience with the scaffolding and re-routing of traffic.  At daily Masses early this week, only one church door was accessible—the front set of doors furthest north. Even the ramp entrance was closed.  That didn’t keep the faithful folks away, many of whom found it difficult to climb the steps.  We all need to express gratitude to the Village of St. Bernard for their patience and understanding.


     Let’s keep one another in our prayers, fellow parishioners.  May our Lenten journey bring us new life and the serenity which that will bring.