Believe it or not, Lent is almost upon us! Ash Wednesday is on March 1st this year. Here are some of the activities planned as we approach this sacred season:
Ash Wednesday Liturgies
We will celebrate Mass with the blessing and distribution of ashes at our usual times of 7:00 am, 9:00 am (with our school community), and 7:00 pm. To accommodate those who would like to come to church during their lunch hour, however, we will have a briefer prayer service, rather than a full Mass, at 12:10 pm; this will include a Liturgy of the Word (the Scripture readings from Mass, homily, and Prayer of the Faithful), along with the distribution of ashes.
Lenten Parish Mission – March 6th-8th
To help us deepen our spiritual life during this holy season, Holy Family parish is pleased to welcome Dominican Father Richard B. Williams. “Fr. R. B.” currently lives in Lubbock, Texas, with the campus ministry community at Texas Tech University as he continues his itinerant preaching ministry. He will preach at all Masses the weekend of March 4th-5th; the Mission proper will take place Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday at 7:00 pm in the church. Monday evening will focus on our baptismal calling; Tuesday will include our Lenten Penance Service to renew the grace of our baptism; on Wednesday the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick will be offered following the evening’s presentation. (For those who cannot attend the Mission, we will also celebrate an Anointing of the Sick Mass on Saturday, March 11th, at 10:30 am) Fr. R. B. will offer a brief summary of his evening Mission talks at the 9:00 am Mass each day. I look forward to seeing you at the Mission!
Friday Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Stations of the Cross
Each Friday during Lent we will have Eucharistic Exposition from 9:30 am until 6:45 pm. Come spend an hour in the presence of our Lord, Who has promised to stay with us always—particularly in the Blessed Sacrament—and Who wishes us to draw near to Him. On Friday evenings we will reflect on Jesus’ Passion as we celebrate the Stations of the Cross at 7:00 pm. (On First Fridays, March 3rd and April 7th, Exposition will continue as usual through the night, with a break from 6:45-7:45 pm for Stations.)
The annual diocesan Eucharistic Congress will take place Friday, March 24th, and Saturday, March 25th. There will be a beautiful presentation of the Stations of the Cross on Friday evening at the Prime Osborne Convention Center, so there will be no Stations at Holy Family that week, and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will end at 4:00 pm that day. In addition, our Youth Group will again present their powerful interpretation of the Stations on Good Friday, April 14th. We hope you can join us for these events!
Other Lenten Activities
Many parishioners have enjoyed Dynamic Catholic’s “Best Advent Ever” and “Best Lent Ever” programs. This year’s Best Lent Ever offers a free daily e-mail with a video from Matthew Kelly. From Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, Matthew will help you identify what stands between you and happiness … and what to do about it. Sign up at dynamiccatholic.com/lent. And on St. Patrick’s Day, Friday, March 17th, from 4:00-8:00 pm, join the Men’s Club for the best Fish Fry in town!
Bishop’s Annual Stewardship Appeal: Next weekend is Commitment Sunday for the Bishop’s Annual Stewardship Appeal throughout the diocese. We will be showing a video during all Masses and asking for your support.
This week, please review the Bishop’s Annual Stewardship Appeal information you have received in the mail. Your gifts will provide critical funding to pay for the education of our seminarians, to help those most in need through four regional Catholic Charities offices, to provide support for five designated Catholic schools, and to developing newer means of evangelizing all the people of our diocese. As you review the ministries the Appeal supports, please reflect on your gifts. God has given you all that you have. Your gifts to our parish, to the diocese, and to the work of the Church throughout the world are a disciple’s response.
If you received your pledge form in the mail, please complete it and mail it back, or bring it with you to Mass next week. For those of you who did not receive a mailing or have not had time to respond to it, we will conduct our in-pew pledge process at all Masses next weekend. Thank you for your prayerful consideration and generous response.
HRO Update: I offer my heartfelt thanks for the many prayers and expressions of support for my appearance on February 8th on the televised “town-hall” meeting concerning the expansion of Jacksonville’s Human Rights Ordinance. The proposal passed City Council last week (without Mayor Curry’s signature), but Bishop Estévez’ concerns about the religious freedom of individuals and institutions remain. To learn more, you can watch the debate at www.wjct.tv/show/community-thread.