It is good to be home after being away for two Sundays in a row! Thank you for the prayers for my retreat. You and your family were lifted up in prayer on retreat as well. The retreat was amazing and there was an abundant amount of grace and peace throughout! It took me a while to get back into the swing of things. I still may not be completely back!
Thursday, March 24th, was the middle of our 40 day Lenten journey. To mark this halfway point, the Church celebrates (though muted because of the penitential season) Laetare Sunday on this 4th Sunday of Lent. Rose or pink vestments are worn by the clergy at mass as we hear the Antiphon, “Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her.” (Isaiah 66:10)
We have three more weeks, including Holy Week, until we celebrate the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of our Lord. Today is a day of rejoicing, but it can also be a day to examine our Lenten resolutions and our fulfillment of them. If we have stuck with them and honored them, we recommit to them. If we have grown lax in them, we make further resolve for these coming weeks. If we haven’t been able to achieve them, then perhaps they need to be tweaked or adjusted a little bit. Whatever is needed, let’s pray for each other and those coming into full communion with the Church at Easter. Remember to pray an Our Father, Hail Mary, and a Glory be for your fellow St. James parishioners.
Annunciation and Consecration
Friday, March 25th, was the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, the day we celebrate the Archangel Gabriel visiting Mary and Jesus being conceived her womb. Almighty God became incarnate in her womb when she gave her response to the Gabriel, “Let it be done to me according to your word.” Nine months from that day (which is December 25th) we will celebrate the birth of Jesus at Bethlehem.
On this great feast, Pope Francis, joined by all the bishops of the world, consecrated Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Our Bishop joined him at the noon mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist. We joined in prayer after our 8:30 AM Mass and after 5:30 PM Stations of the Cross. Please continue to pray for an end to this invasion and war.
May the Lord Jesus bless you and your families abundantly this Laetare Sunday and throughtout this Lenten Season!
~ Fr. Daniel Firmin