My Dear Parishioners,
Greetings from Fr. Antony Vazhappilly! I hope you are all safe and sound by the grace of God and by the protection of our Blessed Mother. This letter comes to you with a sincere invitation as well as a reminder that Lent is around the corner. Every year the Ash Wednesday marks the first day of the season of Lent. This year it is on February 17th. Lent is a season of conversion and I humbly come to you with a few recommendations:
Lent is the time for penance. The whole liturgy focuses on conversion and transformation. Lent comes as an opportunity for us to begin a new life. In the true spirit of Lent I would like to invite you to make some sacrifices by giving up something. I recommend every family during Lent to choose some collective penances like abstaining from meat, alcohol, and the like. Of course, you should do it with the right spirit and for the right purpose. Jesus was extremely specific about having the right attitude with which we pray, fast, and give alms. I would like you to offer this as a sacrifice for the intention of building our New and Permanent Church. The sacrifices you make will go up to God and with His blessings will come down. Only God can build a church for us.
And again, in the spirit of solidarity and sacrifice, please save whatever you can moneywise from your penance. For example, if you are giving up meat during Lent, save whatever money you will be spending on meat and make that amount as your Easter offering to St. James. If you are giving up Starbucks coffee during the entire period of Lent, save the money you will be spending on coffee and make it your donation. If you do this in a spirit of love and commitment, God will bless and reward you immensely. The best suggestion will be for each family to come up with a dollar amount of your donation at the beginning of Lent. This should be a family effort and everyone in the family should know what you are giving up and what you are donating for the parish on Easter Sunday.
We have so much to thank God for all His blessings. We are going through a difficult time caused by the Coronavirus. We are into the second month of 2021 and have not successfully arrested the spread of this virus. Let us turn this situation to our spiritual advantage by growing closer to God. The closer we are with God the closer we will get to one another. Every sacrifice we make will go a long way toward our own eternal investment.
On Ash Wednesday we will have two Masses, at 8:30AM and 7:00PM. You will be blessed with ashes on your foreheads after the Holy Communion. Please make every effort to attend the Mass by choosing any one of the two. You have a choice to remain in your cars if you do not want to come out. You can receive Holy Communion in your cars as well. The ash placed on your forehead is a sign of repentance and conversion. It is a powerful reminder that life is short and that it is not permanent: REMEMBER, DUST YOU ARE, TO DUST YOU SHALL RETURN.
We will not be able to have the Stations of the Cross at church on Fridays. However, we will conduct it virtually through Zoom every Friday at 7:30PM right after the Virtual Rosary at 7:00PM. Please come and join with your children.
Join Zoom – Stations of the Cross
Fridays @ 7:30pm
Meeting ID: 383 469 8894
Assuring you of my continuous prayers.
May God bless you!
Fr. Antony Vazhappilly
St. James the Apostle Catholic Church