This Sunday is Quinquagesima, which means that the holy season of Lent is upon, and that it is also time for the Bishop's Annual Appeal.
In his message for Lent, Pope Francis encourages us to be urgent in our Lenten observance: "Let us not allow this season of grace to pass in vain! Let us ask God to help us set out on a path of true conversion. Let us leave behind our selfishness and self-absorption, and turn to Jesus’ Pasch. Let us stand beside our brothers and sisters in need, sharing our spiritual and material goods with them. In this way, by concretely welcoming Christ’s victory over sin and death into our lives, we will also radiate its transforming power to all of creation."
You will see [here] a schedule for special Lenten devotions, including the Imposition of Ashes on Ash Wednesday, added times for Confessions, Stations of the Cross, and more. Don't let this season, a privileged time for growth in grace, slip away! Make a plan now for your own Lenten disciplines of almsgiving, prayer, and fasting, and especially for how those disciplines will be lived out in the domestic church which is your home and family. Here's a helpful guide to keeping a holy Lent in preparation for the commemoration of the Lord's blessed Passion and precious Death, and the joy of his mighty Resurrection and glorious Ascension. And here's my own favorite source of inspiration for Lenten meal planning!
The annual Bishop's Appeal for the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter also begins on Quinquagesima. At Mass this Sunday I will read a letter from Bishop Lopes inviting you to participate, but here I will make my own appeal: give generously! As a member of the Ordinariate's Governing Council, I can assure you that your gifts to the appeal will be a real and fruitful investment, carefully husbanded, in our common mission and ministry of evangelism and unity. Even beyond the fiscal realities of our Ordinariate's youth and relatively small size, our chancery is an intentionally lean operation. Your gift will make a substantial difference in the chancery's services and the Bishop's ministry, which - and this bears emphasis - is our ministry, too. Your gift is a tangible expression of our unity.
Many of you will have received a pledge card and information about the appeal in your mailboxes this week, and if not, we will have more available at Mass. Ashley and I have already made our pledge and first payment, and I urge you prayerfully to consider your gift and to make your pledge as well (might as well do it now!).
God bless you,