Jesus with cross "Consider this...Stations of the Cross

In my prayer life, I have always enjoyed praying through the Stations of the Cross.  A number of good devotions exist; indeed, we’ve used different ones here at St. Mary’s over the course of Lent as parishioners from various organizations have stepped up to lead us in this respect: thank you to the Knights of Columbus, the Scouts, the Daughters of Mary, the Christ Renews/Welcome Committees, the Youth Ministry, and the School Children, and thank you to all who participate with your presence and prayers.  My favorite version happens to be “Everyone’s Way of the Cross” which reminds us that Jesus is walking with us and we are walking together with him.  The concluding prayer, has Jesus speaking these words to us, “Seek me not in far-off places.  I am close at hand.  Your workbench, office, kitchen, these are altars where you offer love.  And I am with you there.  Go now! Take up your cross and with your life complete your way.”  Thank you, Lord, for walking with us.  This coming week, 3/24/23 is the return of the Pray and Play Event in which the school will be praying a “Living Stations” and then also have activities afterwards to raise money for the charity.  Note the location change that this will be held in the gym this coming week.

During the course of Lent, there are occasions that we hold back from our fasting and turn instead to feasting.  Laetare Sunday, this weekend is one such occasion, in which we rejoice (Laetare = “rejoice!”), as the church anticipates joyfully the victory over sin and death to be won.  Think of a Sabres or Bills game that has been tightly contested, a nail-biter to say the least, in which up until now the tension has been high and then all of a sudden, our team begins to pull away and gain a comfortable lead and the victory is inevitable.  There is still time left on the clock so we can’t just give up our endeavor and all we’ve worked towards, but we also have a taste of that relief and the joy that is to come.  That is the purpose of our Laetare Sunday rejoicing here.  God’s got this one!  We’re going to win!

Using the same sports analogy, during a break in play of such events the color commentators take the opportunity to highlight some special feats by the team or individual with stats and interesting story lines.  Likewise, some special feast days are presented to us along the way here giving us a chance for thanksgiving in recognizing what has transpired to get us to this point.  We celebrate the solemnity of the Annunciation on March 25, giving thanks to God for Mary’s yes, which opened up the possibility of the Incarnation and God breaking into our world so to redeem us.  We give thanks to God on March 19 on the Solemnity of St. Joseph (transferred to Monday March 20th this year because of it falling on Sunday) for Joseph’s role in the Holy Family, caring for Jesus and Mary.  We also celebrate on March 17th the feast of St. Patrick which has special significance for those of Irish heritage.  Since this is first published in the emailed Flocknote on March 17th, I want to include this special instruction from the bishop that applies for this year’s feast with the hopes that you may reach you in time.  In the bishop’s words – “Many follow the instruction of abstaining from meat on Fridays during Lent, but we are also called to practice self-discipline and fast in other ways throughout the season.  This year Saint Patrick’s Day falls on Friday, a traditional day to abstain from eating meat.  Recognizing the spiritual and the cultural significance of Saint Patrick’s Day I hereby grant a commutation of the discipline of abstaining from meat on March 17, 2023.  A commutation of this discipline means that those Catholics who choose to eat meat on Friday, March 17th are obliged to choose another day before March 24, 2023 to abstain from eating meat.  I hope this allows for a joyful celebration of Saint Patrick and Irish heritage, by blood or association, for all who find this day meaningful.”  Happy feasting!


~Fr. Luke