First of all, I want to thank everyone who supported our recent Mardi Gras School Benefit event— materially or spiritually. This was the last year for us holding the evening at Memories Party Center. That space now will serve as part of the campus of a church community. We are deeply grateful to Dave and Cookie Balas, who as owners have been so tremendously gracious and flexible in working with us.
Also, thank you to all parishioners who participated very reverently in the in-pew appeal for Catholic Charities 2018. While we will not have an official report for some time, it is quite evident that St. Mary understands the connection that undergirds our life as Catholics— that although we experience community at a very local, even intimate level, we are also joined to brothers and sisters throughout the Diocese of Cleveland and the world.
The gospel for the First Sunday of Lent this year (Cycle B) offers us St. Mark’s account of the event of the Temptation of Christ in the desert. It is exceptionally brief, not including the details of the three distinct lines of temptation the Devil presents to Jesus. The first reading invites us to witness the exchange between God and Noah, following the devastating flood, leading to the gift of a rainbow. While clearly the emphasis is on the progress of the covenant between God and His people, we may do well to examine the larger account from which it is drawn. It confronts us with the grave consequences of human infidelity.
In my personal experience, while even a weak start to Lent does not necessarily mean a “bad Lent,” I am consistently better off when I start strong out of the gate, so to speak. In that spirit, I highly encourage us to make an effort to attend at least a portion of our upcoming three-day mission: Sunday, February 25 through Tuesday, February 27. Details are available elsewhere in this issue, as well as in the flyer mailed out to homes.
As well, the Diocesan Night of Confession is taking place once again this year, on Wednesday, February 28, from 5—8 pm. This means that one can literally go to any of 185 churches within the diocese and receive this marvelous sacrament. When I was growing up, we tended to wait until right before Easter to confess. While I understand the desire to be clean for Easter, I believe we do well not to underestimate the sanctifying grace bestowed in the sacrament to fortify us in the face of temptation. Besides, there is no rule that says one can only come to Confession once per Lent :-)