Dear Friends of Saint Ann’s Shrine and the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament,
Turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel.
Lent is a time set aside to rekindle the meaning of our Baptism. When we were baptized as a baby, the priest prayed over us and said: “the Christian community welcomes you with great joy. In its’ name, I claim you for Jesus Christ.” Then he made the Sign of the Cross on our forehead…the sign that each of belongs to Jesus…that’s why so many of us wear the cross or crucifix around our necks, place the crucifix on the walls of our homes and make the sign of the cross when entering a Church and beginning any prayer. The answer is simple: we belong to Jesus and we’re proud of it!
As we begin Lent, the Church once again will make the sign of the cross on our forehead. However, this time the cross will be made of black ash to remind us that although we truly belong to Jesus Christ and are members of God’s family and Temples of the Holy Spirit…still…all of us have lost the innocence of our Baptism day and are now sinners and in need of God’s generous mercy and forgiveness. So the black cross we will wear on our foreheads on Ash Wednesday is a reminder that we, each of us, are willing to strive during Lent to resist sin as strongly as we can and to help ourselves rise to New Life with Christ on Easter.
So Lent is not a grim time to punish ourselves by refraining from things we like to eat or do, but rather an opportunity to grow in friendship and intimacy with the person of Jesus. After all, Easter is a love story, not a horror story.
Let me suggest. If you had 40 days to live…what would you want to change about yourself, your behaviors and attitudes toward people in your life; and what changes might help bring you closer to Jesus whom you have pledged to imitate and follow?
You might want to: give up a long-held grudge; to forgive that hurt you’ve been nurturing; stop complaining and gossiping; give more compliments; smile and listen to others more.
You might think of God more as a God of Joy who loves you as you are, while always willing to help you become better. You might pray more; participate in a morning Eucharist several times a week besides Sunday only; perhaps reserve a little time daily for some meditation and quiet reflection on the gospels and get to know Jesus better.
You might try to put up with the idiosyncrasies of others, to be more tolerant of differences of opinion and points of view, and more patient when people disrupt your scheduled plans.
Lent then is a time and opportunity for spiritual and human growth…a time leading to a new spring like burst of Easter glory with Christ ever more firmly living in our hearts.
As you well know, the Catholic Church is in the business of health care for the soul of each of us. The many doctors we visit tend to our frail bodies, while our immortal souls are in the safe hands of Mother Church, her sacraments, her liturgical feast days and her ministers who help us stay connected to God and his Grace.
While the liturgical season of Advent leads us into remembering the Incarnation, the awesome gift of the Son of God becoming human and living on planet Earth, so the season of Lent, soon to begin on March 6, will usher us once again into the season of Lent,- 40 days intended to help us heal and strengthen our soul to reject sin and to better know and appreciate the inexpressible gift of our Redemption in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
You might even feel urged to make a donation to Saint Ann’s Shrine and to help us continue to raise funds for the retirement of our Community or education and training of future priests of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament.
Thanking you always for your generosity to Saint Ann’s Shrine, I am
Yours in Jesus Eucharistic,
Fr. Roger Bourgeois, SSS
*We invite you and your group to join us at Saint Ann’s Shrine for Daily Mass at 11:30AM, Monday-Friday (call for Holidays)
*Join us for the Triduum as we celebrate Saint Ann’s Feast Day: July 24, 25, & 26 with Mass each evening at 7:00PM
* The Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament offers a daily devotion/reflection. If you’d like to receive this uplifting message, simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
* We have Blessed Oil and Holy Water available for a suggested donation of $6.00 per bottle. Contact Saint Ann Shrine at 440-449-2700 or st-ann-shrine.org.
* Be sure to “Like” us on Facebook & visit our website
* Please consider sharing contact information for 3 of your friends or relatives that may be interested in supporting and learning about Saint Ann’s Shrine.
* Please ask your employer if they support a matching gift program and your donation may be doubled!
* Please consider becoming a member of our Legacy Society by naming Saint Ann’s Shrine or the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament in your will. For more information, please contact Scott Gongos, Director of Mission Advancement, at 440-449-2700 or email@example.com. We currently have 228 friends who have committed to the long-term support of Saint Ann’s Shrine and the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament!