Years ago, friends of ours had a destination wedding at a small, private, beachfront resort in Mexico. My husband and I made a vacation out of it, and arrived days before the wedding, before most of the other guests had arrived. One night, after a late dinner, we took a stroll along the beach. It was quiet, except for the sounds of the wind and the waves, and quite dark out. At some point, I paused to look up into the night sky, and was stunned. There were an incredible number of bright stars surrounding me.
One of the wonderful things about our liturgical calendar is the opportunity each year to walk through the life of Jesus. From his birth in a manger to his resurrection from the tomb, we meditate on the mystery of the incarnation and reflect on the reality of our own redemption. But because these events feel both intellectually familiar and historically distant, it can be easy to go through the motions. Like re-watching a TV episode you’ve seen dozens of times already knowing the outcome. Or listening to a story about a grandparent that’s been retold at family parties for decades.
Lent is a sacred time of preparation. Each of us has a personal journey of faith, and the great joy of belonging to a parish community is that we are given the opportunity to journey with one another.
The practice of listening and opening our hearts. When we pray, we are communicating with the voice of God. Prayer includes public worship in the liturgy and private prayer in meditation and contemplation.
Have you heard the aphorism “you spot it, you got it”? Maybe you know the one “when you point a finger at someone, there are three fingers pointing back at you.” Or “that’s the pot calling the kettle black.” One of my favorites is “Never start a sentence with the words ‘no offence.’” You probably have a favorite too. Does it intrigue you, as it does me, that we are so profoundly interested in and devoted to the finding of faults in others? Why is that? Aren’t we all One Human Family? Do we believe we can diminish another human being and yet remain untouched by the effect?
We all seek to improve ourselves in one way or another. We also seek to move away from old symptoms of our past person hanging on. Perhaps experiences of abuse, health issues, economic struggles, racism, sexism, the child who won’t study or the marriage that has become dull, distant or even that has failed. All of these experiences stick with us and make us protected, cautioned, closed off, bitter or even lacking empathy and embodying hate.
It seems to me that many I know are going through dark, “when it rains, it pours” periods of their lives. Diagnosis of cancer and daily struggles with side effects, job insecurity or deep-seated frustration, car accidents, mounting bills, hospice, loneliness. Struggle after struggle.
Throughout Advent, Saint Clement parishioners generously supported 11 local charities with their wish lists for the season. Nearly all of the 1,450 tags were taken from the trees! Overall, as a parish, we were able to donate more than $14,647 in gift cards and donations, as well as more than 1,965 items of clothing, toys and more.
The following gives a breakdown of the distribution:
Begin your Lenten journey with the visible reminder that we were shaped from clay by God's hands, and that we will return to God.
- 7:00 a.m. | Full Mass with ash distribution
- 9:00 a.m. | Full Mass with ash distribution
- Noon | Prayer service with ash distribution
- 4:00 p.m. | Prayer service with ash distribution
- 5:30 p.m. | Prayer service with ash distribution
- 7:00 p.m. | Full Mass with ash distribution