I do hope that all of you are managing through the first few days of Lent. The first few days of giving something up are always the hardest. It’s in that first week or so of giving up caffeine, or snacks, or chocolate, or whatever it was we gave up, that we can catch ourselves doing things out of habit. Just remember, even if you slip, don’t be afraid to start again. That’s part of Lent, working through those challenges, and working to restrain our desires. It’s becoming better at being able to tell ourselves no, so that we’re more able to really choose the yes that’s most important.
This weekend, in the readings, we hear about Noah and the flood, as God established his covenant with Noah and ushered in a new world, how the flood prefigured baptism. One of the things that happens during the Lenten season is a preparation for the sacraments. This year, we have one person being received into the Church, Mr. Mike Mays. At Easter, we’ll welcome him as a new Catholic. This is a time as we pray with him as he comes through this last phase of his journey into the faith. Meanwhile, we have our children who are preparing to receive their First Communion, and our young people preparing for Confirmation. For them too, this season of Lent is a preparation to receive those great sacraments.
Then, for some reason, this has also been wedding preparation week for me. We currently have a number of couples who are preparing for marriage this summer. Some were delayed due to the virus, while others are just coming into their own. I’d also invite you to continue praying for them. Although we don’t see these things happening as we normally would in a normal year, they’re still happening. It’s good for us to remember them, so that we can keep all of those preparing for Sacraments in our prayers this Lenten Season.
I had hoped to be ready to publish the times for our Spring Penance days, but unfortunately I am still
waiting on some of my brother priests as we get a schedule together. The plan will be very similar to Advent. There will be three extra times available for confessions during Lent. Each evening will have myself and a visiting priest. We are hoping to arrange it so that there will be both evening and daytime times available. I’m really hoping to be able to share that with you next week.
We had our first “regular” Parish Council meeting last week on the 10th. A few things were decided, one of the big ones was the times and locations for Holy Week. We decided that it’s important to make sure that all of our holy week services are streamed. So for this year, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil will all be held in the Church. Easter Sunday 8am will be held at the Chapel, just like a normal Sunday, and Easter Sunday 11am will be at the Church, again as a normal Sunday.
Stations, meanwhile, will be in the Church at 6pm on Fridays in February, and the Chapel at 6pm for Fridays in March. Since Stations, by nature, aren’t conducive to streaming, we’ll be streaming a pre-recorded stations at the same time we’re doing them live in the Church.
On a practical matter, I do have some news to share. A few weeks ago, our Diocese purchased a new tool called “FlockNote” for all of our parishes. It’s a messaging tool that will allow us to share information with you on a regular basis, to share cancellations and schedule changes, to ask for volunteers when an opportunity arises, to share devotional messages, prayer requests or other things
going on in our parish. After some training and some data entry, I think we’re ready to go. The system is set up so that you can sign up only for the lists that you’d like to hear from.
There’s a few ways to sign up:
1. Visit our website, www.popnc.net and click the “Flocknote” button on the front page! You’ll then get specific directions on how to sign up.
2. Visit http://popnc.flocknote.com and enter your information. You’ll be prompted for which lists to sign up for.
3. Text POPNC to 84567 and you’ll be signed up straight from your cell phone. It will prompt you for which lists you’d like to join.
It’s my hope to use this new tool as a way to communicate with all of you. It can be something as simple as sending a text message to all of our Lectors or Altar Servers, letting them know that someone canceled and asking if someone else could fill it. It might be reminding everyone of the date and time of our Penance Service, or asking people for help with our dinners or other things around the parish. I’m also pleased that it includes text messaging, as we have a number of parishioners without internet access, but with cell phones. I’m hopeful that it will be a good tool that can help serve us to allow you to feel more connected and “in the know” of what’s going on at the parish.
Please keep praying for me as I pray for you,
- Fr Matt
Father Matthew Baum is the Parish Administrator at Prince of Peace Church in Northern Cambria, PA.