(Letter from Msgr. Schaedel for bulletin of March 4, 2001)
Lent is here. Again, I’ll list the essentials below. Lent for Catholics means three things: Almsgiving, Fasting, and Prayer. I cannot recommend two things highly enough for your consideration during these forty days: Daily Mass and the Sacrament of Penance. The grace that flows from these two sacraments is impossible to even comprehend.
Here at Holy Rosary, we have two Masses seven days a week. We have confessions before each one of those Masses, seven days a week. We will also participate in a joint Lenten Penance Service with Sacred Heart, Good Shepherd, and Saint Patrick Parishes. It will be at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 25, at Sacred Heart Church.
Almsgiving is generous giving to those in need. During Lent, we deliberately schedule some so-called “second collections” for special purposes. This weekend, the second collection is for the Black and Indian Missions in our country. Some of our own archdiocesan parishes serving African-American Catholics benefit from this. Please be generous.
Next weekend, the second collection will be for the Catholic Church in Eastern Europe. This Church is just beginning to dig herself out from decades of persecution in this part of the world. Catholics there are in desperate need of our help.
There will be a second collection for some special group in need each Sunday during Lent here at Holy Rosary. Some have commented that they think this is asking too much—a second collection every Sunday in Lent plus other second collections that come at various times during the year. I don’t know why. It’s your option whether to give or not. If certain people think this is asking too much, all they need to do is not give. It’s up to them. And it’s between them and God.
Fasting means saying “No” to ourselves. It’s practice in self-control, which leads us to the ability to say “No” to temptation. It’s also a reminder that the things of this world are not all there is. Good Friday is the next mandated day of fast and abstinence (no meat, no eating between meals, our two lesser meals put together should not outweigh our main meal of the day. All Fridays in Lent are days of abstinence from meat.
This is the minimum. In addition, we need to do penance by saying “No” to some things or “Yes” to other things. Many folks give up candy, or alcohol, or some television, or other pleasures. Others do positive things. Each person can tailor his or her “Lenten Penance” to his of her own individual circumstances. Why sins did you mention the last time you went to confession. Let your voluntary penance be a kind of vaccine that will attack that particular “strain” of temptation and sin.
Prayer is essential to a good Lent. Individual prayer like reading Scripture, some quiet time each day just to talk to God, the rosary or other private devotions are good suggestions. We have all night Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament every First Friday evening into First Saturday morning here.
The Stations of the Cross are a wonderful Lenten devotion. In order to make it more convenient for folks, we’ve decided to offer these immediately after both Masses on the Fridays of Lent. We’re hoping many will take advantage of this convenience. I guess we need to keep in mind that this is the age of “one stop shopping!”
Spaghetti and Spirituality is an adult education program that will take place after the 5:30 p.m. Mass on the Wednesday of Lent (about 6:00 p.m.). Many parishes have this sort of thing with a simple soup and bread supper. Since we are the Italian Parish of Indianapolis, we’re going the meatless pasta route. It’s meant to be a simple light Lenten meal. Don’t expect anything like the fare at Saint Joseph’s Table or the Italian Street Festival. It’s not meant to be that at all! There is no charge, but a free-will offering will be accepted to help cover the cost of the evening.
Our “text” for this adult education series will be a little book called How the Catholic Church is the Same and How it is Different from Other Christian Churches. It was written by Franklin J. Daily, M.D., and published by the Society of Catholic Evangelists.
I chose this topic because of the recent instruction from the Vatican, Dominus Iesus. This is the document that came out last year reasserting the position that salvation comes only through Christ and through His Church, the Catholic Church. But it’s been the source of some controversy and some misunderstanding. Does this mean that our God-fearing Protestant friends, relatives, neighbors, and co-workers will never see the light of heaven? Come on Wednesdays during Lent and find out.
The Feast of Saint Joseph, patron of Italy, is March 19. Beginning today, Sunday, March 4, we will observe the annual Triduum (three Sundays of prayer) in honor of Saint Joseph. We will have Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, the chaplet (rosary) of Saint Joseph, the Litany of Saint Joseph, and a brief sermon. This will be from 1:30 to 2:00 p.m. Please try to attend to honor Saint Joseph.
Holy Rosary’s annual Saint Joseph’s Table at Primo will be all Sunday afternoon March 18, from 12:00 Noon to 5:00 p.m. Get your tickets!
Have a good Lent! Faithfully yours in God's Providence,
Rev. Msgr. Joseph F. Schaedel