The Pastor's Column


Fr. Lara's Lines


2nd Sunday of Lent

We are already in the second Sunday of Lent. I have heard from many parishioners about their Lenten practices. Some are giving up sweets or alcohol, others are working on their spiritual lives by spending some more time in prayer, and still others are visiting the sick or helping those in need. The Church wants us to observe these three spiritual practices: praying, fasting and almsgiving. We can practice these throughout the year, but they have a special meaning during the penitential Lenten season.

Praying

Prayer is the time we spend with God. Jesus showed his disciples how to pray because without prayer we cannot have a relationship with God. The Church encourages us to pray daily. The goal of prayer is not so much asking God for favors but a relationship with God. There are many forms of prayer: Petitions, intercessions, meditation, and praise. All forms of prayer help us to deepen our desire to be more like Jesus. Our parish has prayer at the center of our community. The adoration chapel is the heart of the parish. Parishioners of all ages come to pray at all times. This Lenten season, I invite you to work on your prayer life. You might want to pick up new daily prayer habits or work on being more intentional in your prayer routine. Quality time in prayer is more valuable than quantity. Let us join Jesus in the desert where, for forty days, he prayed and prepared himself for his public ministry.

Fasting
The Church asks us to fast, not for the purpose of losing weight, but to detach ourselves from the things of this world. Fasting is a spiritual practice that allows us to separate ourselves from the pleasures and even necessities of life. When we feel hungry, we tend to think about food. That is an opportunity for us to replace that hunger with God’s love. When we are deprived of our desires, all we think about is enjoying them. Depriving ourselves of our attachments allows us to fill that void with God’s presence. Jesus went to the desert for forty days where he fasted. He showed us that nothing can prevent us from being close to God. Abstaining from certain foods is a small sacrifice that helps us recognize our dependence on God. We can also abstain from doing specific things. Just like fasting, abstinence from other desires is a common practice during Lent. It would be easy to give up something we do not like, but that would defeat the purpose. We should make a small sacrifice this Lent by giving up something more significant. How is your Lent so far? It is never too late to start the beautiful and holy practice of fasting.

Almsgiving
While fasting is abstinence from what we desire, almsgiving is giving up something we possess. We all have many possessions which may be difficult to let go of. Sometimes we are too attached to the money we have or the things we possess. Almsgiving is a form of detachment. This practice is difficult for some people because it requires giving up our own money, time, or possessions. We become so accustomed to what we have that we think we cannot do without any of it. Jesus went to the desert with nothing, knowing that all he needed was God. We should not be afraid to be uncomfortable. This season of Lent, I invite you to be more charitable, spiritually or materially. What are the things you are too attached to? How can you use the things you possess to deepen your relationship with God?

Asian American Association
A couple weeks ago, the Asian American Association hosted hospitality after the weekend Masses. This helped us to catch up and stay connected with other parishioners. The members of the Asian American Association (AAA) make our parish feel so welcoming. This is one of the most active ministries. I admire their faith, enthusiasm, and commitment to our parish. The Asian American dinner dance is one of the main events they host every other year. It is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate who we are as a community. It is also a fundraiser which raises money for the many projects we have as a parish. The renovations of the vestibule bathrooms and the sacristy are two of the most recent projects they supported. The AAA celebrates Simbang Gabi during Christmas. The church is decorated with lights and beautiful Christmas ornaments. It is such a joyful celebration starting with Mass and ending with a reception in Marian Hall. The AAA are active members in all aspects of the parish. Anyone can be a member of the AAA. If you would like to be part of this lively ministry, please contact Ford Culbertson at ford@deerfieldbakery.com

Peace
Fr. Lara

Recognize God in Your Oridinary Moments - By Colleen Jurkiewicz Dorman
On the Mountain (abridged)
Why climb a mountain? “Because it’s there,” George Mallory famously said before perishing in an attempt to scale Mount Everest.

God is an event planner; every detail matters, and the location is most crucial of all. On the mountain, God demanded the sacrifice of Isaac. On the mountain, he restored Isaac to his father. On the mountain, Jesus was transfigured, revealed in all his mystifying glory as the Son of God, the sacrifice which would finally balance the scale.

These things happened on a mountain because the mountain is where the reckoning happens. It is where God takes, where He gives back, where He hands down.

In Lent, we encounter the mountain. We are removed from the distractions of ordinary life and placed outside the confines of our everyday habits. We find silence and mystery, pain and truth. We struggle and we become tired, and there is always a moment when we wonder if it would have been easier not to climb.

I am not much of an outdoorswoman so I am far from qualified to comment on whether the view from the summit was worth George Mallory’s life. But I do know a thing or two about struggling through a difficult experience. I know the strange peace that exists in the moment after it’s all over and you catch your breath and realize you are a better, stronger, wiser person for the pain.

The mountain is there. Let’s climb it.

“God put Abraham to the test. He called to him, ‘Abraham!’ ‘Here I am!’ he replied.” — Genesis 22:1
©LPi


The Holy Father's Intentions for February

For the Terminally Ill
Let us pray that the sick who are in the final stages of life, and their families, receive the necessary medical and human care and accompaniment.

Honor Our Military

Please take time to give thanks for those who have served and are serving in our military and to pray for the safety of those who may currently be in harm’s way. In a special way, we thank and pray for these parishioners and relatives of parishioners.
Dear God,
We pray in gratitude for all of those who have defended peace, virtue, and justice with honor. We pray especially for those who have suffered in mind and body from the ravages of war. May Your peace reign in our hearts and in our world. Amen.

He Who Sacrificed His Life
†CHRISTOPHER ZIMNY

Those Still Serving
JAY MARTIN, Nephew of Becky and Tom Brennan
JESSICA CAMERON, Niece of the Cameron Family
JOHN PODCZASKI, Grandson of Genevieve Podczaski
STEVEN TUMBARELLO, Son of Sylvia & Vince Tumbarello
CRAIG BEHRENDT, Grand-nephew of Sister Mary Helen
DANIEL BELZER, Nephew of Dave & Bev Belzer
MICHAEL KELLY, Nephew of Kevin and Kathy Kelly
MATTHEW NEUBAUER, Nephew of Dan & Judy Neubauer EUGENE WALL, Nephew of Suzanne Lessner
NAILL SWIDER, Grand-nephew of Alice Swider
BRYAN DUFF, Son of Julie Duff
RYAN BLOCHBERGER, Nephew of Mae Grady
TIMOTHY DWORKIN, Grandson of Barbara Bouska
ALEXIS GONZALES, Great-niece of Eden & Lyle Gonzales-Nemzin
JACK MAHON, JR., Son of Jack, Sr. & Eileen Mahon
MICHAEL FOLEY
JOHN FOLEY
PETER MULLER
DANIEL FRAYNA
JOSEPH GULLO
SANG HOON LEE
ANTHONY PALMERO
MORRIS COREY MCMAHON, SON OF CHRIS & JULIE MCMAHON
RYAN FONTILLAS
JOHN A. STONIS, GRANDSON OF JOHN & DOROTHY STONIS
MICHAEL T. HEHN, GRANDSON OF JOHN & DOROTHY STONIS

To add or remove someone, please send the person’s name and relationship (optional) to bulletin@stcatherinelaboure.com

Please Pray for Ukraine

For our sisters and brothers involved in or affected by the war and devastation in Ukraine-- the deceased, the injured, the frightened, the displaced, the fighters, the protesters, the leaders. May God give them solace, healing, comfort, and hearts and minds directed toward peace.
Donations can be made here:

Knights of Columbus: https://www.kofc.org/secure/en/donate/ukraine.html

Caritas: https://www.caritas.org/

Ukrainian Catholic Archdiocese of Philidelphia: https://ukrarcheparchy.us

"May the Queen of Peace preserve the world from the madness of war" - Pope Francis


Neighbors of other Faiths
The Golden Rule

Excerpted from charterforcompassion.org/the-golden-rule-in-seven-major-religions
We may speak of great differences in religious beliefs and forms of worship around the world. Called by an endless number of names, all, however, recognize and worship a Supreme Being. And all religions, somewhere in their sacred literature, expound the fundamental philosophy of the Golden Rule.

Buddhism: Hurt not others with that which pains yourself.
~ Buddha, Undanavarga 5:18

Christianity: Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that all men should do to you, do ye even so to them.
~ Matthew 7:12

Confucianism: What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.
~ Confucius, Analects 15:23

Hinduism: Good people proceed while considering what is best for others is best for themselves.
~ Hitopadesa

Islamism: No one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.
~ Mohammed, Traditions

Judaism: And thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
~ Leviticus 19:18

Zoroastrianism: Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others.
~ Shayast-na-Shayast 13:29