Today is Scout Sunday in the United States, a day when we recognize the youth who are being and have been formed by the scouting movement. I was formed through this organization as a youth and look back with gratitude for what I received from outstanding leaders and peers in terms of my values, work ethic, and self-esteem. We have several troops affiliated with the parish. If our youth are looking for the types of things that I received in my time with the Scouts, I recommend they check out one of our troops. If their parents or other adults are interested in instilling these values in our youth, I recommend they consider offering their time and talents to our troops. If you know a scout, please thanks him or her for their commitment to high values and service to others.
Lent will begin on Ash Wednesday, February 17. We will have four services over the course of the day. While this day is not a holy day of obligation, many desire to begin their Lenten journey to Easter by coming to receive ashes. Our first service will be at 7:00am. It will be a shorter service, without the reception of Holy Communion, in order that those who need to go to work may get to a service without being late for work. The other three services will be full Masses with the reception of Holy Communion a part of the liturgy. One will be the weekly School Mass which will be closed to the public in keeping with our COVID-19 safety protocols. The other two Masses will be at 12:30pm (to work around the dismissal times of our preschool children who use the same walkway from their classes as those coming to/leaving Mass) and 7:00pm. The 10:00am School
Mass and the 7:00pm Mass will be livestreamed for those who prefer to participate virtually in Ash Wednesday liturgies.
Ashes will be distributed at all four liturgies but the manner will be different this year. For those electing to receive them, they will be distributed in a manner more common outside the United States but part of our tradition: by sprinkling them lightly on the top of one’s head. This is how the Pope receives ashes every year. This manner of distribution is recommended by the Vatican to eliminate personal contact between the distributor and recipient of ashes and subsequent contact with others. If you are uncomfortable having a few ashes sprinkled on your head, please note that the reception of ashes is entirely optional.
Fr. Jairo has been notified that Senator Tillis’ request for an emergency appointment has been approved by the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá Colombia. He has been given an appointment for Monday, February 8, to complete the last steps to have his passport updated with his new visa. This is great news. Join me in praying that the appointment goes without a hitch and he is able to obtain his revised passport very soon after the appointment.