A Message from the Pastor
Dear Parishioners and Friends of the Church of St. Nicholas,
Welcome to these humble web pages. Feel free to check out the weekly bulletin within; and, know that you are welcome any time to join us at Mass or for any event that you will find listed within the pages on our website.
The Christian world has welcomed the great season of Lent; and, the baptized faithful, members of Christ’s Body, the Church, take time to reflect upon the direction of their lives. Repentance, with prayer, fasting, and almsgiving marks this sacred time.
As you peruse these pages, I invite you to prepare your minds and hearts to enter into this solemn time of spiritual and religious reflection. With the help of God’s grace, let us all renew minds and hearts, remembering each day what many of us heard the moment we took upon our heads the blest ashes of Ash Wednesday, “Turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel!”
The fact that each one of us, individually, will face our own earthly end, Lent is a good time to reflect, upon that other sobering phrase also used during the distribution of ashes, “Remember, Man, that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return.”
After his baptism, the Gospels relate that the Spirit of God drove Jesus out into the desert, wherein he fasted and prayed. We also read that Jesus allowed himself to be tempted by Satan. Lent causes the believer to reflect upon the seriousness of one’s life. What’s more, by our meager efforts at bodily mortification during these forty days, we seek to reign in our usual excessive worldly ways and appetites. If you or I need help in self-renunciation or the discipline of self-mortification, I suggest we think of and pray for the many countless souls enduring the cruelty of those who persecute them for the holy Name of Jesus! Our brothers and sisters suffer unspeakable treatment the world over because of religious persecution. But Jesus also teaches us to forgive and to pray for our enemies. Lent is also a good time to get in touch with the judgments or grudges we have held against others in our lives. Lent is a good time to look at our lives as they really are, and let go of all that stands in the way of our heaven.
When we hear of these injustices committed against members of Christ’s body, we should first offer up prayers for those who give witness to the sufferings of Christ. What's more, we begin to experience gratitude for the sacraments of our Catholic faith, which we share. Our sacramental life in Christ, beginning with our baptism, is itself a gift from God. The Sacraments strengthen us and help us to endure daily trials without complaint, receiving these trials so as to model after our Lord; for Jesus commanded us to take up our crosses and follow after him.
As a help to you, I would like to remind you that Lenten confessionals are open everywhere. The Sacrament of Penance, or Reconciliation, helps the soul to begin again. I invite you to go to your own parish Church to spend time in silence before the Tabernacle and adore our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Many parishes now offer times for public adoration, but you may go to adore at times most convenient for you. During Lent you will find the pious practice of walking the “Stations of the Cross.” In my three parishes, Stations are scheduled three times each week. Stations may be done privately at any time throughout the year, and a plenary indulgence is afforded the soul under the usual conditions.
Lent calls each of us to a time of individual and communal renewal. Let’s not miss the opportunity to pray more fervently, to fast more honestly, and give assistance to those who have need of physical or financial support.
Begin with a visit to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Present yourself to Him during Adoration. And may God bless each one who reads this message and who begins to prepare heart and mind during holy Lent.
God bless you.
Fr. Basil, OSB