Lent I

The Bishop’s Note
We are now in our first full week of Lent. Ash Wednesday, which is always very well attended, saw an even bigger crowd of people this year to receive the blessed ashes and to recall that we are dust and unto dust shall we return. Our Lord blessed us here in West Chester with good weather this year, but Fathers McKenna and Simpson, who were in North Dakota and Milwaukee, weren’t quite as lucky. A huge snowstorm hit both places and made travel impossible. In fact, the roads were closed in North Dakota so that no one was even allowed to travel due to heavy snowfall and blizzard conditions. They rearranged their travel plans to make sure to get blessed ashes to as many of the people as possible. God bless them both for their zealous efforts.

This week we have much on offer. There is an extra Mass almost every day, Stations of the Cross and Benediction on Wednesday, a special Holy Hour for priests on Thursday, a busy day of prayer on First Friday and again on First Saturday. Of course, don’t forget the First Wednesday this week. Attend a Mass in honor of St. Joseph to whose honor the first Wednesday of every month is especially dedicated. If you’re looking for things to do or sacrifices to make, one has to simply turn to the bulletin to see the many opportunities on offer to him!

St. Francis de Sales, too, has much to offer us during this Lenten season. Have you ever read about him? Have you ever read any of the many books he wrote? Sometimes, when we read books or hear preachers speak on the spiritual life and matters of salvation we leave feeling more discouraged than anything. St. Francis has a very simple method of explaining how we are to become holy and gives very practical advice on the matter. His approach is always from the positive angle and always serves to uplift and to make us realize that it is indeed possible for us to become holy. Read about him, pray to him, imitate his example and follow his counsels this Lent. Remember, Lent is about change! That is, changing or reforming our spiritual lives. May St. Francis guide us all in this matter! St. Francis de Sales, pray for us!

– Bishop McGuire