Today is the First Sunday of Lent. We all know Lent as a time of fasting, almsgiving, and prayer. We know it too as a time to reflect on our sinfulness, go to confession, and do penance in preparation to celebrate Easter. While repentance is a well-known Lenten theme, many people are surprised to learn that Baptism is just as an integral part of the season of Lent as is the sacrificing and penance. Having said that, we generally do not baptize infants during Lent (except in an emergency). During Lent, we want our focus to shift to adult baptism. Lent is the final period of preparation for adult (catechumens) for baptism at the Easter Vigil. In the coming weeks they will have a more intense preparation through the scrutiny prayers and anointing with the oil of Catechumens. The rest of us, baptized as infants, are to prepare ourselves to renew, on Easter Sunday, the promises of baptism that our parents and godparents made for us. Here are a few questions for your reflection during Lent. After water was poured over your head, you were then anointed on the head with the oil, the Chrism of salvation, as Priest, Prophet and King. How are you living that reality – that you, like Christ, are a Priest, Prophet, and King? Then you were clothed in a white garment as a sign that you have become a new creation and clothed yourself in Christ. How have you lived your Christian dignity as a person clothed in Christ? One of your godparents lit a candle from the Easter Candle, with these words: “Receive the Light of Christ.” How has the light of Christ shown through you in your thoughts, actions, and words? Think about these as you prepare to climb the mountain of Lent to the glorious heights of Easter.
Our Middle School Youth Minister, Candy Rice has announced that she will be retiring (for the second time) from Our Lady of Mercy at the end of June. Candy led the EDGE program for our sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students and parents. Candy worked in that position from 2007 until retiring (the first time) in 2012. John Werle held the position from 2012 – 2017. Prior to Fr. Hugh’s retirement in June 2017, he invited Candy to come back to OLM as Middle School Youth Minister, which I am glad she did! When I arrived in June 2017, it was good to have staff all in place. I want to thank Candy for the years of service she has given to the Our Lady of Mercy Parish as a staff member, a guide and friend to countless number of middle school youth, and their parents! She has always brought joy and enthusiasm to her ministry, and her love for the emerging teens was always very evident! We wish Candy every blessing in her retirement!
Have a blessed Lent!