A Season of Grace in Unusual Times
AND NEW LIFE IN CHRIST
the eve of Ash Wednesday, the Archdiocese of San Antonio released a statement from Fr. James Fischler, CICM, on behalf of our Archbishop:
“While many of us will not be able to receive ashes in the usual way or on the usual day, [Archbishop Gustavo] sends to all of you his best wishes for a blessed Lenten season. May these weeks of Lent be a time for a genuine conversion of hearts, and lead to a growth in love of God and neighbor.
“As Pope Francis wrote in his Message for Lent this year, ‘Fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, as preached by Jesus, enable and express our conversion. The path of poverty and self-denial (fasting), concern and loving care for the poor (almsgiving), and childlike dialogue with the Father (prayer) makes it possible for us to live lives of sincere faith, living hope, and effective charity.’
“May our prayer this year be for all those affected by this terrible coronavirus, those who have died, their grieving families, frontline workers, and caregivers. We look forward with hope to the new life of the resurrection.
“Saint Anthony of Padua, pray for us.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.”
As we seek to renew our life in Christ this Lent, God’s word reminds us that faith is to be lived in practical ways: forgiving generously; offering a helping hand or word of encouragement to those who are struggling; making our lives a constant witness to the transforming power of faith, hope, and love; and persevering in our commitment to Christ as disciples and as those sent forth in his name.
In his Lenten Message, Pope Francis writes: “Love rejoices in seeing others grow. Hence, it suffers when others are anguished, lonely, sick, homeless, despised, or in need.”
Throughout the message, Pope Francis emphasizes how traditional practices not only promote individual conversion, but also should have an impact on others.“By receiving forgiveness in the sacrament that lies at the heart of our processv of conversion, we in turn can spread forgiveness to others.”
The Holy Father underscores the importance of fasting “as a form of self-denial,” helping each of us to discover his or her total dependence on God and to open one’s heart to others. “Fasting involves being freed from all that weighs us down . . . in order to open the doors of our hearts to the one who comes to us, poor in all things, yet full of grace and truth: the Son of God, our Savior.”
At a news conference presenting the Holy Father’s Message for Lent, Cardinal Peter Turkson spoke of the importance of fasting and all forms of asceticism: “It is only through self-denial that we discipline ourselves to be able to take the gaze off ourselves and to recognize the other, reckon with his needs, and thus create access to benefits and goods for people,” ensuring respect for their dignity and rights.
Lent is a time for us to walk with Christ toward a new life and a deeper trust in God and in our future.
“Como escribió el Papa Francisco en su Mensaje para la Cuaresma de este año, ‘El ayuno, la oración, y la limosna, tal como los predica Jesús, permiten y expresan nuestra conversión. El camino de la pobreza y la abnegación (ayuno), la preocupación, y el cuidado amoroso por los pobres (limosna), y el diálogo infantil con el Padre (oración) nos permiten vivir vidas de fe sincera, esperanza viva, y caridad efectiva.’”
La palabra de Dios nos recuerda a diario que la fe se debe vivir de manera práctica: perdonando generosamente; ofreciendo una mano amiga o una palabra de aliento a quienes están luchando; haciendo de nuestra vida un testimonio constantemente a el poder transformador de la fe, la esperanza, y el amor; y perseverando en nuestro compromiso con Cristo como discípulos y como enviados en su nombre.
El Santo Padre subraya la importancia del ayuno “como forma de abnegación,” ayudándonos a describir nuestra total dependencia de Dios y abrir nuestro corazón a los pobres. “El ayuno implica ser liberados de todo lo que agobia . . . para abrir las puertas de nuestro corazón al que viene a nosotros, pobre en todo pero lleno de gracia y de verdad: el Hijo de Dios, nuestro Salvador.”
We are deeply grateful for the dedicated ministry of Fr. Joseph Thai Tran, SSS, and Deacon Vincent Scheel during this time, as our Pastor, Fr. Anthony Schueller, SSS, undergoes testing in preparation for the removal of a colloidal cyst in his head. The cyst, first diagnosed in 2011, was inactive until recently. The prognosis both for the surgery and for a full recovery and return to ministry is good. Fr. Anthony is at Padua Place, resting and undergoing further tests. He very much appreciates your prayers and looks forward to being back with you soon.
Special thanks as well to Bishop Michael Pfeifer, OMI, the bishop emeritus of San Angelo, and to Fr. Abél Ruiz for their generosity in helping with Masses and confessions at St. Joseph’s. We are blessed!
THE JOURNEY CONTINUES
Our catechumens, candidates, sponsors, and catechists are participating in the Rite of Election this Sunday evening, February 21, at 7:00 at San Fernando Cathedral. Due to the coronavirus protocols, seating is limited and not open to the public. Let us nonetheless accompany them by our thoughts and prayers . . . to the joy of Easter!
We extend our love and prayers to our devoted Parish Bookkeeper, Chana Finch, whose father Rafael C. Leal died of Covid-19 on February 9. May he rest in peace and may Chana and her family find comfort in Christ’s promise of resurrection and eternal life!
ST. JOSEPH YOUNG ADULTS
Do you feel called to help organize, launch, and be part of a young adult group that prays together, deepens faith, builds relationships, strengthens shared Catholic values, and enjoys sporting events, food, and other fun activities? Call the Parish Office at (210) 227-0126. Share your gifts!
The church is open again after the cold and snow of last week. The furnace needs a new heat pump and the church bathrooms sustained some water damage during the freezing and thawing of the wintry blast. Unfortunately, the bathrooms must remain closed until repairs can be made.
TO OUR PARISHIONERS AND FRIENDS
Thank you for supporting St. Joseph’s Church Downtown through your sacrificial giving, especially in challenging times. God bless you!
Anthony Schueller SSS
on Saturday, February 20 at 9:34PM