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  • Writer's pictureFr. Daniel Gifford

Embrace the Cross

Dear St. Louis Parishioners,

The time has come to embrace our cross with Christ. As our second reading reminds us, Christ embraced His cross for us (2nd Station of the Cross - front cover), to lead us back to God. He embraced it, not as a burden He would take up begrudgingly, but as His glory: “I am troubled now. Yet what should I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Let us take up our crosses boldly this Lent, trusting that the Father can and will glorify His name through our generous gift of ourselves in prayer, fasting and almsgiving. One of the great traditions, through which Christians through the generations have sought to reflect upon taking up our crosses with Christ, is the Stations of the Cross. As well reflecting on one of the stations in the bulletin each week through Lent, we will continue our parish Lenten custom of spiritually journeying through the Way of the Cross together every Friday evening at 5:00 PM. If there is anything that perfectly captures what Fridays in Lent are about it is the Stations of the Cross. It is my desire that every Saint Louis parishioner would experience the Stations of the Cross at least once (if not regularly) this Lent. I strongly encourage all of our families, in particular, to consider coming and bringing your children to experience this and learn, in such a profound manner, the depth of God’s Love for us, as revealed in Jesus Christ. What better lesson for children - as well as children of God of all ages - to learn about what Lent really means than that it may be a time when we remember how much Jesus loves us, that He died on the cross for us! Stations of the Cross truly is for everyone. It is a moment for the entire parish family, and it should be a time when we grow, not only as individuals, but as a parish family. We must deepen our awareness that we grow in communion and fellowship with one another, the more that we turn together toward Christ who unites us. There are two specific things we are doing this year to help emphasize the communal aspect of stations. For one, we will offer it twice on March 16th (3:30 & 5:00), in order to encourage involvement with both Stations and our parish Fish Fry, which is a treasured community event for so many. But, first, this coming Friday (February 23rd), we will have our first Parish Simple Supper after stations, in Harkrader Hall. This is meant to be a community event, with a simple meal, fellowship, and an opportunity to continue to communally enter into that penitential spirit of Lenten Fridays (and truly all Fridays, to some degree). There will be a short video reflection or reading, to assist in that. We have not confirmed the date for the next one yet, but we hope that many of our parishioners can join us this Friday. The simple supper, also, is an event for the whole parish family. I hope to see you there.

AN EXAMPLE OF ALMSGIVING: As some of you may know, we have had a large number of funerals in recent weeks (and really, since I arrived). I have been greatly encouraged by the support that our grieving families receive from our parish. Our funeral luncheons, under the very capable and generous leadership of Mary Harmon, are fantastic! Not only is the food delicious, but they are welcoming, inviting and accommodating meals offered in honor the deceased. But, besides the luncheons, simply the presence of parishioners at the funeral, both to support the family and to pray for the deceased, is immensely valuable. Thank you to all of our parishioners who have offered such a positive witness, not only of Saint Louis Parish, but of Jesus Christ, to families in a time of grief. I encourage others who might be available to consider this as a form of almsgiving. Unfortunately, it is not usually possible to announce them ahead of time in the bulletin. Besides prayer intentions at daily Mass, for the time being, we rely mostly upon the obituaries and word of mouth to get the word out. Nonetheless, I encourage this kind of support from parishioners and want to offer truly heartfelt thanks to those who have already offered it.

In Christ through Mary,

Fr. Gifford

St. Louis, pray for us!

Blessed Mary, Queen Mother of the King of Kings, pray for us!

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