Thank you for your well-wishes and prayers while I was away on vacation. I had a grand time with some other priest friends on Shaw Island. We stayed at the guest house of the Religious Sisters of Mercy on Shaw Island. They were most gracious hosts and a delight to meet & get to know. And, as it turns out, they are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their founding (September 1, 1973) – there is even a plenary indulgence available for those who wish to make a pilgrimage to their chapel. The sisters would be delighted to welcome you – and I can attest to their hospitality. We were blessed to spend the week there.
Of course, you might be wondering what we did the whole week! Before I left, I mentioned that it was a ‘board game retreat’ – which I hope to clarify was NOT so much a spiritual retreat (though we did offer Mass and pray together daily). No, this was a week of tabletop games – some a little more common (Catan, 7 Wonders, Love Letters) and some a little more complicated (Twilight Imperium, Eldritch Horror, and Cthulhu Wars). I must admit that although we played games every day of the week, I didn’t win a single one. Ah well ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ – it was a good time nonetheless!
All that said, its good to be back home. Can you believe that Ash Wednesday is just a couple of weeks away? Don’t get caught off guard – consider taking a little time each day to prepare for Lent. I recommend this article for Aleteia about the practice of ‘Pre-Lent’. Let us pray for each other was we look forward to the holy seasons ahead.
yours in Christ,
January 28 – This week kicks off Catholic Schools Week. Across the country, we celebrate Catholics schools. I’m proud of Saint Mark Catholic Classical school – the dedication of our principal, faculty, and staff to faithful Catholic teaching, quality education, and a fun & safe environment for students is deeply inspiring. In a world where being faithful is not only hard, but often actively discouraged, our school is not only a refuge but a place where faith is found & strengthened daily! Please pray for our school and those who support it – and come to the Multicultural dinner & auction this Saturday, February 3rd after the vigil Mass! Bring a dish representing your own culture and enjoy that of many others – it looks to be a blast!
January 31 – Today is the memorial of Saint John Bosco. He is most known for his care of orphans. After a series of dreams about the plight of orphan boy, he was convicted to do something to help them avoid a life of destitution and depravity. It was hard going – the boys he attempted to house and teach often took advantage of his kindness, stealing the very supplies he acquired to assist them (such as blankets) and even emptying a hayloft. But he continued on and eventually started a ministry that spread beyond the borders of his own influence, housing and teaching boys far & wide. Read more about him and the mentorship he embraced at Word on Fire.
February 1 –
February 2 – Today is the feast of the Presentation of the Lord. Those who pray the Liturgy of the Hours will recognize the prayer of Simeon in today’s Gospel as one we offer daily at Compline or Night Prayer. Traditionally, this is the day when parishes and the faithful have all their candles blessed at Mass. As Christ, the light of the world, was made known in the temple, so we bless those candles which will illuminate our churches and our homes. The Vatican News has a lovely set of reflections for this celebration.
February 3 – One of the more popular devotions among Catholics is to Saint Blaise, whose memorial is today. Catholics around the world will go to Mass, looking to receive the special blessing of throats with candles. How fitting that those candles were blessed the day before, at the feast of the Presentation of the Lord! Read more about Saint Blaise at Aleteia – and plan on coming to Mass this Saturday (9:30 am) for the blessing of throats!