Concrete Steps for Renewal
Happy, healthy, and holy Labor Day Weekend to you! If this is your first time worshipping with us in a while, welcome back from summer vacation and travels. Welcome home! Every week, I have been meeting new people and I look forward to meeting all of you, to serving you, to being your shepherd, and to working together to build the Kingdom of God in our little corner of the world.
Last week, I wrote about choosing to do penance in order to repair the wounds caused by sin. In fact, for the past two weeks we have been dealing with weighty topics. (All past letters are posted on olphparish.com .) Pope Francis has invited the whole Church to engage in prayer and fasting. Our Bishop, David O’Connell, has also instructed parishes to engage in some practice of prayer and fasting in order to seek purification and renewal in the face of the crisis affecting our Church. It seems the Holy Spirit was communicating his message on all fronts.
From prayer and reflection, I humbly present our threefold approach at OLPH.
(1) Friday Rosary. I ask that we pray the rosary on Fridays for healing of abuse victims, holiness of clergy, and courage for bishops. This includes the rosary at 8:15am in church, but anyone can offer the holy rosary anytime on Fridays for these intentions.
(2) Special Prayer Cards. I ordered prayer cards for the Protection and Renewal of the Church. (Hopefully they arrive before the weekend!) Together we will offer this prayer before the final blessings on the Lord’s Day, at least for the month of September. You may take a card home to pray during the week, if you wish.
(3) Day of Prayer and Penance. Friday, September 14th, 2018. Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. OLPH will be united in prayer and penance with Our Lord’s perfect sacrifice. From 3pm until 9pm, we will have exposition and adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament. All groups will be invited to dedicate an hour in vigil with Our Lord. If you are unable to join us in prayer, you are welcome to choose your own penance and prayer.
There is no mistaking that these are trying times. I have received several glaring glances and sideways stares over these weeks. It can be so hard to remain faithful. History teaches that our Church has endured far worse! In fact, the first crisis the Arian controversy was much worse. These words of Saint Boniface offer consolation: “In her voyage across the ocean of this world, the Church is like a great ship being pounded by the waves of life’s different stresses. Our duty is not to abandon ship, but to keep her on her course.” No doubt purification and renewal are hard and painful processes, individually and ecclesially, but through them what is dross is purged and what is true remains.
I pray daily for our little church and for the Church universal. May we remain ever-faithful to Christ, the ever-faithful One. And may all of us have the courage to look first inward and courageously remove what does not belong to Him, and then look outward and seek a new springtime for the Bride of Christ. May the Holy Spirit be our fearless guide! Amen.
Yours in our Suffering Lord,