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Fr. Ron's Blog


Dear Friends,
Wednesday of this week is ASH WEDNESDAY, the beginning of Lent. As you have heard before, the word Lent derives from a German root which meant – spring – as in the season, but originally meant – long – referring to the time of year during which the days grew longer.

Lent should be a truly special time of the year for Christians, much the same as Ramadan is for the Muslims. It is a time to take stock of our lives, at the same time performing acts of sacrifice and penance to change those aspects of our lives that turn us away from God. It is a time to allow God to grow Himself more deeply in our hearts and therefore in the ways we live our lives. Couldn’t we all benefit from that?

I encourage everyone, man, woman and child to take this Lent more seriously than at any other time. Do something that’s a real sacrifice. Challenge yourself in ways that you never thought possible. Sacrifice something that you really like, like sleep, getting up a bit earlier to go to daily Mass (6:30, 8:30 or 12:00). Or say a Rosary everyday or read a chapter from one of the four Gospels each day. Or fast every day of Lent (Monday thru Saturday, like in the “old days, or, if that’s too much, Wednesdays and Fridays (see the piece in the bulletin about what fasting entails). Encourage your children to sacrifice something they really like, such as giving up some time on one of their electronic gadgets, using that time to help you or someone else). And help them to stick to it throughout the whole season. As a society, we rarely speak about sacrifice but we practice it every day; teenagers sacrifice time with their friends in pursuit of athletic excellence, dads sacrifice early nights at home for that extra advantage at work, moms either sacrifice career opportunities to be stay-at-home moms or time with their children because they need to be “working moms.” People sacrifice all the time, without identifying it as sacrifice. The Church invites us not only to do it, but to name it so that we may focus all our spiritual energies during this ”spring” time, lengthening the awareness of God’s presence in our lives.

Of course, don’t forget to get off to a good start by coming to church on Ash Wednesday to receive that one, special sign which is one of the signature signs of being a Catholic, although some Christian denominations have now returned to the practice – ashes. Masses will be celebrated at 6:30AM, 8:30AM, 12:00 noon and 7:30PM. Services (but not Mass and therefore, no Holy Communion, will be celebrated at 4:00PM, and 5:30PM. A simple commuter service will be celebrated at 8:45PM. At all of these celebrations, the ashes are distributed after the Gospel and homily.

Another good way to allow Lent to have a deeper meaning in your life is the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Penance, confession. Confessions are heard every Saturday, from 1:00PM to 2:00PM, with two priests hearing, and on Monday evenings at 7:00PM. Don’t wait for Holy Week. Avoid the rush and go to confession early.

Make this Lent the most memorable in recent years. By the time it’s over, you’ll see the difference.

On another subject, last weekend was Pledge Sunday for Sharing God’s Blessings Appeal, for the Archdiocese. If you missed it, and the video, you can go to the parish website and click on the Sharing God’s Blessings icon and you can hear the message directly from the Cardinal. The Appeal placed before each of us some needs and asks us to answer two questions: (1) is it a real need and (2) is it worth my support. At all the masses, I spoke of my years at Catholic Charities (twenty five years on the Board) and the 80,000 people who are served by it, and the annual grant of $1.5 million from the Appeal. Could these 80,000 homeless or hungry or jobless be served without it? Is this a need? When we (the priests who serve here) are gone, will there be others to follow? Only if there is a seminary to train and form them. Is this a need? Last weekend, 57 of our teenagers were on retreat at the Archdiocesan Youth Center in Kearny, one of 7 retreats the parish runs a year. On the weekend retreats there, these teenagers have the opportunity to meet God in a new way. And they do, because I hear their testimony. Is this a need?

The Annual Appeal is about one thing and one thing only – the two questions, (1) is there a need and (2) is it worth supporting. If you can say yes, please make a pledge. Make it a Lenten sacrifice. If you say no, say a prayer that some say yes.

Blessings for a fruitful Lent,
Fr. Ron


Mass Schedule

Weekend Liturgies
Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m.,
11:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m.,
3 p.m. (Spanish), 6:30 p.m.
Weekday Liturgies
Monday thru Friday,
6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m.,
and 12 noon
Saturday, 8:30 a.m. only
Holy Days
Eve: 7:30pm (anticipated)
6:30am, 8:30am, and 12noon 




Click Here for the Video in English and Spanish