Pastor’s Pen – March 6, 2011 | St. Ann Catholic Church | St. Louis, MO

Lent is late this year…

If you remember in 2008, the date for Easter Sunday was about as early as it could be.  Falling on April 24th, this year’s celebration of Easter finds it about as late as it could be.  (Technically speaking, it actually could be one day later, mirroring the fact that in 2008 it could have been one day earlier.)  So we have a late Lent this year.  This is good news to our Fish Fryers, who will not have to brave the cold as much as in the past.  (Though with is as crazy as this winter has been, I am not counting on anything…)

It strikes me this late date also gives us an opportunity this Lent that we don’t often have – the chance to slow down our days by being OUTSIDE for a while.  Having just returned from a vacation in the warm Caribbean, I relished the opportunity to spend time under the stars at night time without freezing, and moments walking during the day soaking in the sun’s warmth.  In a society that gets so crazy busy, there is nothing like being outside to slow down the pace, and to allow time for centering oneself in God’s presence by a kind of walking prayer.

So, as you spend time choosing the disciplines that will mark the Season of Lent this year, take advantage of the warmth and do a little outside walking and praying and slowing down.  Not only will it do the spirit good, but the heart and body as well will enjoy the benefit.  And then, when you are signed by those ashes this Wednesday, commit to the journey we all pledge to walk – to connect more deeply by our prayer, fasting and almsgiving to our Savior, our Lord and brother.

Only 266 more days…

No, that is not the number of shopping days left before Christmas.  That is the number of days until the First Sunday of Advent, which will be the day we implement the new English translation of the new Latin translation of the Roman Missal.  From the responses we pray to the Mass parts we sing, a lot of the words will change.  This is a great opportunity to do a little study and reflection on the mass which we so often can take for granted.  I encourage you to join Phil Kril on Fridays after the Fish Fry, up in church, to begin your process of learning anew how to pray with the Church our great act of Thanksgiving.  There is the ‘early bird’ session – from 6:30 to 7:00.  And the later session: from 7:05 – 7:35, for three Fridays in a row, beginning March 18th