Do you want to become more holy? Learn to pray better? We’ll all have a chance to do that through our parish’s Lenten Mission, which will focus on “Prayer in the Ignatian Tradition.” You know that prayer is one of the hallmarks of an engaged Catholic, and this mission will build on and reinforce Matthew Kelly’s message about how to pray and how to benefit from our prayer.
The presenters will be Fr. Damian Halligan, S.J., whom some of you may know from his former work at the Jesuit retreat house in Manhasset. Fr. Damian has been a Jesuit for many decades, and is well-known as a retreat leader and a spiritual director. Also presenting will be Mrs. Patricia McDonough, an author and retreat leader who serves now as the coordinator for Jesuit programs in the local area. I’ve known Pat for years, since we used to work together on retreat programs. I’m sure you’ll find both of them delightful, informative, and holy people who can help all of us to grow in our faith and to become closer to Christ. Do yourself and those you love a favor for Lent: make a plan now to attend the Mission!
One of the presenters will speak at each of the Masses on the weekend of February 27-28. The Mission will then run Monday – Tuesday – Wednesday, February 29 through March 2. There will be a session each morning after the 9am Mass (join for the Mass too, if you can), and each evening from 7:30 to 9pm. The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) will be available on Wednesday, morning and evening.
There’s a key phrase in Matthew Kelly’s book that I’d like to remind you of: “I can do that!” By it Kelly means that we make progress in the spiritual life by making small steps – doing things that are possible to us, rather than setting goals that are noble but beyond our current reach. Let’s put the Lenten Mission in these terms: Is it possible to set aside less than six hours at the end of February to make this Lent something special that promises a valuable payoff? For a few of you, that may in fact be impossible; but I’d be willing to be that for most of us it’s a matter of choice: We can do it, if we choose to.
There’s an old and valuable Catholic tradition of “giving up something for Lent.” You can think of the Mission this way: You’re giving up six hours over three days as part of your Lenten sacrifice. Do it for yourself, do it for your family, and do it for the parish.
I have a sense that there’s momentum building among us – parishioners are more enthusiastic about our future and what’s becoming possible to us. You’ve probably already been a part of that through your giving, your affirmation of others, and your attitude around the parish. Let’s build on that. Can you image what it would feel like to be among hundreds of other parishioners for each session of the Mission? I can’t make that happen, and the Mission presenters can’t make that happen. But you can help to make it happen through your choice to take part.
So remember the dates: Monday through Wednesday, February 29 through March 2, either morning after the 9am Mass or evening starting at 7:30pm. You can do that!
Until next week, peace.