FROM THE PASTOR…..
MY DEAR PARISH FAMILY, This Sunday evening our Candidates and Catechumens will celebrate THE RITES OF ELECTION and CALL TO CONTINUING CONVERSION with Bishop Mark at the Cathedral in Altoona. These Rite close the period of the catechumenate proper, that is, the lengthy period of formation of the catechumens’ minds and hearts. This celebration which usually coincides with the opening of Lent also marks the beginning of the period of final, more intense preparation for the sacraments of initiation, during which the elect will be encouraged to follow Christ with greater generosity. At this second step, on the basis of the testimony of godparents and catechists and of the catechumens’ reaffirmation of their intention, the Church judges their state of readiness and decides on their advancement toward the sacraments of initiation. Thus the Church makes its “ELECTION,” that is, the choice and admission of those catechumens who have the dispositions that make them fit to take part, at the next major celebration, in the sacraments of initiation. This step is called ELECTION because the acceptance made by the Church is founded on the election by God, in whose name the Church acts. The step is also called the ENROLLMENT OF NAMES because as a pledge of fidelity the catechumens inscribe their names in the book that lists those who have been chosen for initiation. Our candidates will be recognized by Bishop Mark in the Rite of Continuing Conversion. Please keep all our candidates and catechumens in your prayers as they draw ever closer to full communion in the Catholic Church celebrated at the Easter Vigil.
As you have known from last week’s bulletin, I received the ANNUAL LETTER FOR THE ANNUAL CATHOLIC APPEAL that will begin in the Diocese starting March 16th – announcement Sunday. The goal for our parish is $138,976.00 with all monies over the goal being returned to the parish. I normally do not talk about money to a parish; I believe that when God is served by priests and parishioners, God will insure that the particular church will have enough resources to continue His work. This is not presumption on my part; it is faith. From being in the northern part of the Diocese over many, many years, I have seen and understood that the generosity of OLV parishioners towards their church is noteworthy and praiseworthy. Next week I will publish the Bishop’s letter to us, encouraging us towards a successful appeal.
As we begin our journey through Lent, a time of prayer and penance, the Holy Father reminds us in #85 of his Apostolic Exhortation THE JOY OF THE GOSPEL to be people who are neither pessimists nor downers. He writes, “One of the more serious temptations which stifles boldness and zeal is defeatism which turns us into querulous and disillusioned pessimists, “sourpusses.” Nobody can go off to battle unless he is fully convinced of victory beforehand. If we start without confidence, we have already lost half the battle and we bury our talents.” So often in our journey, we feel that our relationship with God means we walk around with a frown, a scowl or a feeling of hardship. As the Holy Father reminds us our spiritual journey is having a relationship with God and that relationship is the basis for our joy found in the Gospel.
HUMOR FOR THE WEEK - Visiting his grandparents, a small boy opened the big family Bible. He was fascinated as he fingered through the old pages. Suddenly, something fell out. He picked it up and found that it was an old leaf that had been pressed flat between the pages. "Mama, look what I found," he called out. "What have you got there, dear?" his mother asked. With astonishment in his voice, the boy answered, "I think it's Adam's underwear!"