Lenten plans at St. Mark
Lent is almost here, if you can believe it. I suppose the whole year has had a penitential character thanks to the pandemic, hasn't it? But Lent isn't really about suffering, as much as fasting can seem that way! In Lent we want to remember how desperately we need Jesus Christ to be our Savior, so that come Easter morning our joy can be real as we remember that his resurrection has forever broken the power that sin and death had over us.
The pandemic limits what we can do as a community, but as we have been slowly walking forward through the mud of the pandemic, so too with Lent we are going to do what we can.
If you were at Mass or watched the livestream this weekend, you already know the plan for Ash Wednesday. But to recap...
Next weekend we will have Lenten take home packets available at the Masses, and on Sunday afternoon available in the pavilion from 1pm to 3pm. These packets will have a small bag of ashes, a booklet with the Stations of the Cross, and some reminders on what else we are doing for Lent. One packet per family, please.
On Ash Wednesday we will have Mass at 8:30am, a Liturgy of the Word at 12:00pm, and Mass at 7:00pm. Ash Wednesday is not a holy day of obligation (and never has been), so it is entirely your choice on if you want to come.
For the distribution of ashes, we will not be placing ashes on your forward. Instead, if you do come forward for ashes we will sprinkle a very small amount over your head. This is actually the normal way that they are distributed in some other countries and cultures, and the Vatican has instructed that every parish in the world use this method of distribution this year.
Devotionals and Opportunities
Stations of the Cross will be every Friday (except Good Friday) beginning at 6:30pm. They will be followed by Eucharistic Adoration until 7:30pm. Personally, Stations of the Cross is one of my favorite devotions and it always brings me a great deal of peace, humility, and love for Christ. Don't forget too that we have our outdoor stations, and you are always welcome to stop by and pray with them on your own (special blessings if it's as cold as it is today, I think).
"Forgiven" is a three part video series on the sacrament of confession. We'll be watching it together via Zoom, and I'll follow that up with some of my own reflections and discussion. So especially if you are avoiding public events and staying home as much as possible, this might be a good opportunity for you. The sessions will be February 18, March 4, and March 18 at 7:00pm. You do need to register here so that I can send you an email with the invite link to the Zoom meeting.
The Magnificat Lenten Reflection will be available at the church entrance stating this weekend, for the usual $2. Or call the rectory office and we can arrange for you to pick one up during the week.
Confession is available every Saturday from 3:00pm to 3:45pm (except Holy Saturday), or by appointment. The confessional has a nice exhaust fan in it so I have personally been comfortable using it, but if it worries you just email me or call the rectory office to make an appointment to meet in my office instead. If you come on Saturday and the line is too long as the clock gets close to 3:45pm, I'm usually able to resume hearing confessions right after Mass for the people I couldn't get to in time, just make sure you talk to me as I step out to go get ready for Mass.
Daily Mass, like always, is on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday at 8:30am. The daily Mass crowd is usually a lot smaller than Sunday Masses.
As always, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fasting and abstinence. Everyone ages 18 to 59 must fast, and eat only one normal meal and two small meals. Everyone age 14 and up must refrain from eating meat.
You might also keep in your prayers our eighth graders as they make their Confirmation on March 9, 10, and 11. Bp. Gries graciously offered to come those three nights so that we could spread out the families and have everything safely distanced... so pray for him too!
Unfortunately, you may have noticed that I didn't mention a fish fry. Our kitchen is so small that even a carry-out-only fish fry isn't possible for us to do. I haven't looked around to see if any other parishes are able to do one. If not, maybe support a local business with their carry out? Especially if they have pierogies.