My Dear Parishioners,
On Wednesday February 14th we will celebrate Ash Wednesday. We will have Masses at 8:00 a.m., 5:00 p.m. and at 7:00 p.m. All 3 Masses will have the distribution of ashes. While Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation, it is the official start to the Lenten Season which is a period of preparation or purification. It is a time when we reflect on what needs to change in our life. Lent is the traditional time to give something up, or to do some additional charitable work or good deed. Fasting (or giving something up) is one way to make ourselves aware of what needs to change in our lives. We fill up our lives with so much excess that often we leave little or no room for God. Fasting clears out space for God to come in. The temptation, once we have created the space will be to fill it with something else, the challenge will be to let that empty space just be and allow God to fill it if He chooses. Fasting is also a way to build the discipline required to live the Christian life, especially in our modern world. It helps us make the difficult or challenging choice; it also helps us grow in our relationship with God. Some people think of discipline as some sort of punishment because it keeps you from doing what you want. A different way to think about it is that discipline helps you to discern what is truly good and it strengthens your will as well.
St. Joseph will continue the practice of offering the Sacrament of Reconciliation every Wednesday in Lent, starting February 21st from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. These Lenten confessions are in addition to the regular Saturday afternoon confessions from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. You might also consider coming to morning Mass at 8:00 a.m. during the week. Even if you can’t make weekday Mass every day, one or two days a week might be just what you need. Or perhaps you can come to church on Mondays when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed from 8:30 a.m. till evening, or join us for Monday night rosary. We will also have Stations of the Cross on Fridays at 7:30 p.m. Included with Stations we will have benediction, that is, the blessing of the community with Jesus present in the Eucharist. I hope you all have a spiritually fruitful Lent.
Archbishop Chaput has asked us to communicate the following letter to you.
May God Bless You,
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Throughout the history of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, we have been blessed with many dedicated men who responded generously to the Lord’s call to “Come, follow Me”. These men, through their gift of priestly ordination, have generously ministered God’s love in our parishes, hospitals, schools and various other ministries. Through the waters of Baptism, they have welcomed us into the family of God. Through the Eucharist, they have helped nourish us for the journey of life we have entered into. Their preaching of the Word has helped give shape to the person we have become. They have been present at our Marriages as well as our funerals; always reminding us of the God who loves us.
Years go by so quickly. As of this writing, we currently have 163 retired priests here in the Archdiocese. Villa Saint Joseph in Darby, Regina Coeli in Warminster as well as various other health care facilities, now provide a home and health care for our priests who are retired or in ill health and no longer able to serve you in active ministry. They now depend on you for your prayers and financial support.
Our annual 2018 Collection for the Care of Aging and Retired Priests of the Archdiocese will take place on the weekend of February 17th and 18th throughout the Archdiocese. Your past generosity to this collection has been tremendous. We are grateful. We recognize your generosity
as a symbol of your own love and gratitude to these priests who have served so well. Through your continued kindness we can be assured that they will be watched over and cared for in their retirement.
Your kindness is remembered daily in their Masses and prayers. We ask that you please continue to remember them in yours.
Gratefully and with continued prayers for you,
+Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.