Fr. Britto Berchmans led a very inspiring Mission last week and we thank him, our Adult Faith Ministering Community, led by Mary Whiteside and Marsha Adamczyk, and many other Holy Family leaders who helped to make the Mission so very successful. Britto made several profound points as he talked about our need to “Open Our Hearts to the Lord.” He used an image of reading God’s handwriting to come in touch with our own love story. He contends that God not only loves us, but that God is IN love with us in a way that is expressed much like the human experience of being in love with someone. This type of love, he says, includes intimacy, commitment and passion. He deeply believes that God knows each of us intimately, God is committed to our growth, and God is passionate about what we do. He also strongly pointed out that most Catholics live only out of and on the committed part of our relationship with God. He sees the other two aspects as great opportunities for growth and an expanding of our prayer life and overall spiritual journey.
Fr. Britto contends that there are no coincidences in life, rather God incidences in which God reveals a profound connection with, and support for, our story. As he spoke about prayer, he underscored that prayer is about relationship, and like any other relationship, there are aspects that are very simple. He urged us to consider very simple things like just being with God, and just calming ourselves down so that we can appreciate God’s presence as a simple form of prayer.
As we contemplate the ever mysterious ways that God responds to our prayer, Fr. Britto says that God answers our prayers in one of three ways. He reviewed several different kinds of prayer, but said as we pray using intercessions or petitions – asking God for things – God says YES, God says NO, and God says NOT YET. His simple explanation here opens us up to what we think we need, what God knows we need, and the need for patience in sorting out life’s experiences.
I share Britto’s theology. I find it rich and prayerful. One very significant aspect of our prayerful relationship with God is forgiveness. My contention is that God not only forgives us, but God has a tremendous desire to forgive us. God is waiting to forgive us.
Since God is waiting to forgive us, we are offering a powerful opportunity to experience that reconciliation by inviting you to participate in our
Lenten Communal Reconciliation Service
this Wednesday, March 29 at 7:00pm in Church
Come. Be reconciled. God is waiting to forgive you!
There will be NOT a 7:00pm EVENING MASS on Wednesday, March 29.
We continue to tell the story of our partnership with Catholic Extension Society and the church in Cuba as Lent unfolds, and we move towards ReNEWal at Easter. We are focusing on the parish of San Miguel Arcangel in Los Banos. Their beautiful church has fallen into disrepair, and we have an excellent opportunity to restore the interior of the church building. Our Lenten Social Justice Project goal is always to raise $25,000. In the past three years we have raised well over twice that amount, and if we do so we will be able to restore the ENTIRE interior of the church, enabling their larger community to gather for Mass, which they have not done for many years in that building. It also opens up additional space in the Church for continued and increased ministries of outreach, education and social service.
Your donation in one of the envelopes located in the box in front of our altar, in the narthex or at our front office enables a community of faith to reNEW its identity and mission.
On Sunday, April 2 we welcome Fr. Ron Hicks to Holy Family. Ron is the Vicar General for the Archdiocese and he was with us on our recent trip to Cuba. He will provide additional insights as to the importance of this project to support San Miguel de Los Banos at the 9:00am & 11:00am Masses.
This weekend we will hear the gospel story of the Man Born Blind proclaimed in Spanish by the Bishop of Matanzas, Manuel Cespedes. You will see and hear Bishop Cespedes as he stands amidst the rubble of the interior of San Miguel de Los Banos church. You will see first-hand the need for restoration and reNEWal, and the simple, humble style of leadership that the bishop shares with his people.
One of the most heartening things that we learned and saw during our recent Cuba trip is the strong collegiality of the bishops of the eleven dioceses of the country. They are united in helping the people live out their faith amidst forces that mute their religious expression. The bishops that we met have a refreshingly humble approach to church, devoid of trappings such as clerical dress and other things.
The story of the Man Born Blind and our one chosen word in the font this week encourages us to SEE. Let’s continue our Lenten journey by opening our hearts, souls and minds to SEE the needs of others and the opportunities for reNEWal in our own lives.