E-Newsletter for
March 11, 2023
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Dear Friends,

Throughout the Season of Lent, we engage in three very specific disciplines: prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Perhaps you caught my short video on prayer recently posted by the Diocese of Springfield. I would like to expound on that topic here,

Prayer, by definition, is the "raising of the heart and mind to God." Prayer is thus an activity of the mind and heart. It must have an object and a goal. In Christian prayer the object is Jesus Christ and our goal is union with Him in Heaven. No matter how we are praying - Mass, rosary, novena - or what we are praying about, this object and the goal are the same.

What about those "other practices" that seem so popular today: yoga, reiki, labyrinth, centering prayer, enneagram, and other "new age" practices. At times, to the uninformed Catholic, these practices can seem harmless. But they are, by nature, self-centered and not Christ-centered. As noted, prayer always has to have an object to desire. Christ is the object of our desire and prayer. Union with Him is the goal. These strange eastern practices that have infiltrated the Church seeks to annihilate the self, empty everything to get to the point of nothingness. There is no desire other than that - self-annihilation. Therefore, these practices are actually very narcissistic. I call it "self-centered naval-gazing." And thus, not prayer at all and dangerous to one's soul.

Let us keep in mind that meditation, contemplation, and simply voicing our prayers to God is always an activity of the mind and heart. St. John Vianney comments that prayer expands the heart's capacity to love. He is so right! Why? When we pray, we desire to love God who is Love. Thus, prayer moves us, stretches us, and molds us into the likeness of our savior. The closer we get to Him, in our prayer, the greater our love for Him and that has an effect on how we imitate Him in daily living and thus increase our love for our neighbor.

Therefore, do not be deceived by what is prayer and what is not... Turn to the saints for help, open the Scriptures, pray the rosary... Keep your mind and heart fixed on Jesus who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. You will not be disappointed.

God bless!

Fr. Jon

Click to watch my Witness Wednesday Lenten Video Series, Week 3 - this week I talk about Almsgiving.

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Holy Hour for Vocations

Mark your calendar for a Holy Hour for Vocations with Bishop Byrne, Sunday March 26th at 3 p.m. at St. Michael's Cathedral.

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Lenten Schedule

For the Season of Lent, there are plenty of opportunities available to deepen our life of faith:

  • Series of Talks on the 10 Commandments with Fr. Barrent - Join us Sundays at 2p.m. in the church. (NO TALK THIS WEEKEND, MARCH 12.)
  • Confessions - Our usual Saturdays from 3:30-4 p.m. (except on Holy Saturday); and Wednesdays at 5 p.m. Also, Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. on March 4th and April 1st. On April 8th, Easter Vigil Saturday, they will be from 11 a.m.-12 noon only.
  • Adoration - Tuesdays, 1-5 p.m.; Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3 p.m.; Rosary at 4:30 p.m. followed by Benediction.
  • Stations of the Cross - Fridays at 6:00 p.m. in English and at 7:00 p.m. in Spanish.
  • Holy Thursday - Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7:00 p.m.
  • Good Friday - Liturgy of Good Friday in English at 3p.m.; plus English Stations at 6:00 p.m. and Spanish Stations at 7:00 p.m.
  • Holy Saturday - Vigil Mass at 7:30 p.m.

Watch new episodes of Coffee with JF here:
Coffee with FJ
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