Penance, Fasting, Prayer & Almsgiving

From Father Winslow, Lent 2018

Dear Parish Family,

The season of Lent is upon us.  Among other things, the Church asks us to consider three areas of our spiritual lives as we prepare to celebrate Easter with minds and hearts renewed. They are penance/fasting, prayer and almsgiving.  As you consider each please know that our parish is focused on helping you with each.

Regarding penance and fasting, together we are required to fast and abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.  We are also required to abstain from meat on all Fridays of Lent.  To help you in this regard the Knights of Columbus will offer a traditional fish fry on Fridays during the season.  We are grateful for their support as we embrace this penitential season.  Additionally, as you consider other personal penances I offer you the following advice.  Consider practices that are tailored to your life and that allow you to make a loving gift of yourself.  Acts of penance should not become a mere exercise of will power.  Rather, they should have God as their object, freely and lovingly given.

Regarding prayer, each Friday of Lent St. Thomas will have a twenty-minute reflection in the Church at 7 pm followed by the Stations of the Cross.  This year the theme of the reflections is “Holy Week.”  In preparation of Holy Week, the six talks will guide us through each day of Holy Week: Passion/Palm Sunday; Chrism Mass; Holy Thursday; Good Friday; Holy Saturday; and Easter Vigil.  Additionally, as you consider personal acts of piety, I recommend the recitation of the Rosary, stopping in the church for a period of adoration and/or availing oneself of weekday Mass when possible.

Regarding almsgiving, since apostolic times Christians have understood the importance of practicing charity by sharing their resources with others.  In this spirit, each Sunday of Lent we will be taking up a special second collection for the retired priests of the Diocese of Charlotte.  Each year every parish in the diocese is asked to collect a specified amount to fund these priests as they come to the end of their ministry and prepare themselves to face God.  Like most parishes, we fall short of the amount we are asked to collect.  Therefore, this year in the spirit of Lenten almsgiving I am asking for your support of our retired priests.  With respect to other ways of giving alms, there are many worthy and committed groups, not the least of which is our local Catholic Charities and the food bank.

As we enter into this Lenten season of preparation, rest assured of my prayers.  May our souls be strengthened and refreshed.


Fr. Winslow

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