As we begin this Lenten Season I hope and pray that for each of us, as well as for all of us as a parish, Lent will be a time of spiritual renewal and growth and conversion. Through prayer and fasting and almsgiving may the Holy Spirit work within us to accomplish His purposes and conform us more fully to Our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
I wanted to bring you up to date on a few things. The first involves the news Fr. Behling shared with the parish a few weeks ago that he will be leaving St. Mary’s at the end of the school year and will be returning to school himself. We are certainly excited for him as he pursues a doctorate in theology. At the same time, a number of people have asked me about his replacement, unfortunately St. Mary’s will not be assigned an Associate Pastor to replace him when he leaves. We are used to having two priests here now on a daily basis and going back down to one priest will be a challenge – we will rely on the generosity of other priests to help fill the gaps as best as possible.
People have also been asking me for an update on the status of the new Perpetual Adoration Chapel. We have had an incredibly generous response to the Love One Another Campaign and while final totals are not yet in, St. Mary’s will be in a very strong financial position in embarking on this project. The next stage of the process will be finalizing material selections for some of the long lead items such as stained glass and marble. Once the project is approved by the Archdiocese and we have the necessary funds available, it will take about six months to complete the project. I wish we could set a planned “breaking ground” date, but we aren’t at that point yet. We will, however, keep you informed as things progress and hopefully have more visual images of the proposed Chapel over the next few months! A particular thank you to all who donated to the Love One Another Campaign!
Finally, I wanted to mention that there is a new English translation to the Order of Penance used to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance. This means that there will be some slight changes in the words of absolution that you will encounter in the confessional. This changed Prayer of Absolution is being implemented between Ash Wednesday of this year and the Second Sunday of Easter, so, for the course of Lent you may hear one or the other depending on where you go to confession - this is not a mistake, nor the priest changing the words arbitrarily. We will begin to use the newly translated Prayer of Absolution here after Easter.
As Lent gets underway, I hope that these coming weeks will be a time of spiritual growth that will lead us to an Easter of joy!