Lent Appeal

February 15, 2017

Dear Friends of Mary’s Shrine,

I write to offer encouraging words about the holy season that is before us. Many of us remember when Lent seemed to be a lean and lonesome season. I heard it described as the ‘season of the long face!’

Lent literally means springtime. That definition suggests new life in nature and renewal in our human spirits.

Lent, leading to Holy Week, invites us to share in the sufferings and death of Our Lord Jesus. It invites us to a change of heart. We die to selfishness and arise to generosity. The pruning involved through penance grows us into stronger Christians.

The Gospel of Matthew says, “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and follow me.”

When we receive ashes on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday it reminds us that our ultimate destination is somewhere else and our time on this earth is a journey of preparation.

There are three aspects of Lent to consider. The first is personal... give up dabbling in unhealthy things for the body and soul. The second is universal, which our Catholic faith emphasizes. We are all connected. We’re actively sensitive to the suffering and needs of others. Be generous to the poor. Our ministry at the Basilica stresses the third aspect of Lent, which is communal. This aspect calls us to support each other during Lent and prayer for each other.

The angels were with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane in His time of need. Let us be with you…the angels for you in these days and share those prayers nearest to your heart with us.

We see it as a sacred responsibility to pray for your intentions and concerns and are really happy to take you with us to Mass every day through the prayers we offer on your behalf.

God bless you during these holy days.

Very Reverend Paul J. Henry

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