Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It’s hard to believe that we’re about to begin  Lent with the celebration of Ash Wednesday this week. Lent traditionally has two themes: penance and preparing for baptism or, for those of us  already baptized, renewing our baptismal promises.  Lenten penance is not about self-denial for its own sake, but is directed toward renewing our relationship with others, God, and self through acts of charity, prayer, and fasting.  Lenten penance is not undertaken for our own sake (to receive rewards, lose weight, etc.) but for the sake of returning to God with our whole heart, mind, and soul.

To help us focus upon this holy season of Lent, beginning with Ash Wednesday and continuing throughout Lent, there will be “Lenten Trees” placed in four locations around the church campus:

– Stewardship Center
– Assisi Community Center
– Franciscan School
– St. Fancis Preschool

These trees will start off bare.  In baskets around those trees will be paper leaves.  You are invited to take leaves and write down your Lenten commitments on them and hang them on the trees.  As the season progresses, this will be a wonderful opportunity to share as a whole community our Lenten promises and give witness to all that the parish is doing.

Lent has traditionally been a time when people grow in holiness and deepen their faith, through the practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving (works of service).  Ministries of our parish will have prayers to handout and ideas available on tables and the bulletin board.  Please join in this activity as we “green” the trees and watch them come into full bloom as we journey together toward the renewal of our baptismal promises at Easter.

In the peace of Christ,

Fr. Mark