Chaplain Message for February-April 2022
We have entered semester 2 using a regular timetable with the semester change. Although it's another adjustment for staff and students, I feel for many, it is a welcome change. Many of our amazing clubs are starting to resume and spring sports will make a return when the season arrives. As we settle into our new routines, I pray that God continues to bless our community of St. Mary's.
Semester 2 will be spiritually enriching as well. Our next virtual prayer service is scheduled for Ash Wednesday - March 2nd. Ash Wednesday is a day to do some self-examining and consider ways that we can better live by Christ's example. It's a day for us to repent our sins and ask God for His forgiveness. We can look at it as a day of self-cleaning. On Ash Wednesday, we place ashes on our foreheads as a symbol of the sins we are trying to turn away from. The ashes are placed in the shape of a cross to symbolize that even in our times of sin, Jesus says that we still belong to Him, and He forgives us.
Ash Wednesday then kicks off our 40 days of Lent, a time spent in prayer, fasting and almsgiving as we prepare to enter Easter with a clean heart.
This year for Lent, St. Mary's will take a closer look at the book of James from the bible as part of our morning prayer, we will make personal choices in regards to fasting, and we will give generously to a few needy causes. Specifically, St. Mary's will be participating in a drive to support Ukraine. All money collected will go towards Development and Peace, a Canadian Catholic charitable organization that works in partnership with organizations in more than 30 countries to create greater justice in the world, and towards the Red Cross (in which our donations will be matched by our federal government). Both organizations are working to provide food, shelter, medical care and provide transportation for refugees to safety. As well, St. Mary's will be continuing our hygiene products drive that was begun before Christmas and interrupted by our covid-related lockdown. These almsgiving activities will run from Ash Wednesday until Easter.
As we enter this time of Lent, let's pray:
We come to You on Ash Wednesday and during our season of Lent to help us with some self-cleaning. There are times when we have sinned, weakening our relationships with others and with You. We ask for forgiveness. Bless us with the strength to turn away from evil temptations and the compassion to always speak and act in a way that pleases You. After this period of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, may we celebrate Your risen Son, Jesus, with a clean heart and conscience.
We pray this in Your holy name. Amen.
God bless you,