We have reached the midpoint of Lent. On this 4th Sunday of Lent, you will notice a different liturgical color of the vestments that Father Kingsley, Deacon Balfour and I are wearing. Today is traditionally known as Laetare Sunday, in Latin, which means rejoice. The blend of Lenten purple and Easter white produces a rose color, hence you see the priests and deacons vested in rose colored vestments. This is a clear sign that Easter is quickly approaching us. During these next few weeks, our scripture readings will lead us to the culmination of the commemoration of the Paschal Mystery. In just 2 weeks will journey with the Lord as he makes his triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. We will then enter into the holiest days of the Christian calendar, that is the Sacred Triduum.
These next few weeks of Lent are meant to be a time of deep spiritual preparation for this most sacred time. Since the beginning of Lent, I have been praying and meditating on the words of our Holy Father, Pope Francis. In his homily on Ash Wednesday, the Holy Father spoke of the temptations that we have in our lives and the grace to unmask those temptations. Allow me to share some of his thoughts with you. He said, “We are subject to numerous temptations. Each of us knows the difficulties we have to face. And it is sad to note that, when faced with the ever-varying circumstances of our daily lives, there are voices raised that take advantage of pain and uncertainty; the only thing they aim to do is sow distrust. If the fruit of faith is charity as Mother Teresa often used to say, then the fruit of distrust is apathy and resignation. Distrust, apathy and resignation: these are demons that deaden and paralyze the soul of a believing people. Lent is the ideal time to unmask these and other temptations, to allow our hearts to beat once more in tune with the vibrant heart of Jesus. The whole of the Lenten season is imbued with this conviction, which we could say is echoed by three words offered to us in order to rekindle the heart of the believer: pause, see and return”. Let us use these next few weeks to defeat these temptations and to place our trust in the Lord.
Stations of the Cross, Tuesday Evening Vespers & Seven Last Words
Each Friday during the season of Lent we will pray the stations of the cross at each of the three churches. Stations of the cross will begin at 7:00PM. On the Tuesdays of Lent, we will have Eucharistic Adoration with Vespers. The theme will be “In unity with one another.” The next Holy Hour will take place this Tuesday March 13 at Our Lady of Victory Church beginning at 7:00PM. The guest preacher will be Msgr. Thomas Petrillo, who is a priest of the Archdiocese of New York. Msgr. Petrillo serves as Pastor of the parish of St. John and Paul in Larchmont. We are asking all who serve in ministries to be in attendance especially Ushers, Eucharistic Ministers, Lectors, Choir, Altar Servers and Catechists. As is the custom, we will pray the Seven Last Words of Christ before his death on Good Friday morning at St. Peter Claver Church. Parishioners are invited to give a reflection on one of the last words at the prayer service. Any parishioner who is interested can see Mr. Stanley Davis, Mrs. Estella White-McDuffy or call the parish office.
We adore you O Christ and we praise you, for by your holy cross you have redeemed the world!
Have a great week,
Father Alonzo Q. Cox