Today we welcome Deacon Steve Schumer, President and Chief Executive Officer of Catholic  Charities of Buffalo to speak to us on behalf of the Catholic Charities appeal. This year the patron saint of the appeal is St. Teresa of Calcutta. She once said, “Charity isn’t about pity. It is about love. Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” Please pray for the success of this appeal, and be as generous as you can for this wonderful organization that provides love, hope, and support to many. It is hard to believe that Lent is here already. This is the first Sunday of Lent, a season of preparation for the highest celebration of the church at Easter, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. In the Gospel today we hear Jesus being tempted in the desert. He is tempted in all ways possible and three are mentioned. When tempted by the devil he responds with scripture. Perhaps we can do the same in temptation. Here are his responses: One does not live on bread alone; you shall worship the Lord your God, and Him alone shall you serve; and you shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test. The church encourages prayer, fasting, and almsgiving during Lent to  prepare ourselves for the Easter celebration. It is a time to pare down our lives and remember what is most important. I have always    believed my relationships are most important—First with God, then with my family, friends, and now the people of St. Mary’s. The love given and received in relationships are most important. Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, gives the honest reminder when we receive the ashes on our forehead, and hear—“Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

 In a recent tweet, Pope Francis shares “Our love for God and neighbor is our passport to heaven. Our earthly possessions are dust that scatters, but the love we share—in our families, at work, in the church, and in the world—will save us, for it will endure forever.”

This Lent let us remember what is truly important in our lives, and continue to strive to love God and our neighbor.

God bless,

Fr. Ryan