This weekend, we celebrate the First Sunday of Lent, that very special time of our Church year when we are called to step back a bit from the frenzy of life in order to take a clearer look at where we are in in our spiritual lives. During this time, we are called by the Scriptures and by the Church to “rend our hearts, not our garments”….. Lent may not be so much about “giving up” as about becoming, about doing and changing whatever it is that is blocking the fullness of spiritual life in us…. it is a summons to open ourselves to Life itself.
This Sunday morning we will hear God inviting Noah, and us, into a new covenant…. God says “it is a covenant between Me and you, and all living creatures”. As we begin on our Lenten journey this year, let us renew our own commitment to be open to God’s word in our lives, as well as to life itself, to love, to respect for all living things.
“This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand.”
As part of our parish Lenten activity, please read the letter that will be included with the St. Clare Bulletin this week and (AND which follows here) and consider participating throughout these six weeks in the collection of items for families in need. Together we CAN make a difference in our own community and we can help the Church of the Diocese of Lexington to be Christ’s presence to those who are homeless or are poorly housed in the Lexington area.
In his recent Lenten message Pope Francis wrote, “Every Christian community is called to go out of itself and to be engaged in the life of the greater society of which it is a part, especially with the poor……..Lent is a favourable time for showing this concern for others by small yet concrete signs of our belonging to the one human family.”
For many years during the Lenten season it has been the custom of St. Clare parishioners to participate in the practice of almsgiving by offering a financial contribution designated for one or more service organizations. Instead of suggesting monetary donations during Lent this year, the St. Clare Peace and Justice Committee invites you to become engaged in one or more of the “small yet concrete signs” listed below:
~ ~ Continue to support the Berea Food Bank by donating canned goods, dry goods, and paper products. Items most needed are cereal, mustard and spinach greens, flour and meal, canned tomatoes of all varieties, cheese, potatoes, and fresh fruit. Donations may be placed in the basket in the narthex each Saturday or Sunday during Lent. http://www.bereaoutreach.org/
~ ~ Donate much needed items to the Catholic action Center. The CAC operates a number of programs providing food, shelter, and personal items to some of Lexington’s most vulnerable people. There is ongoing need for hats, gloves, coats, and socks for men and women; blankets; coffee, cream, and sugar; laundry detergent; large garbage bags; bleach; cleaning supplies; toilet paper; soap; toothpaste; and toothbrushes. Donations can be placed in the designated area in the narthex each weekend throughout Lent. http://www.godsnet.info/catholicactioncenter.htm
~ ~ Address systemic change by advocating for an increase in the Kentucky minimum wage. A bill to increase the KY minimum wage to $10.10/hr. is currently before the State Senate. An increase in the minimum wage to $10.10/hr. would benefit 1 in 4 Kentuckians and 22% of Kentucky children. See the accompanying fact sheet for more details. The Senate will take up this legislation very soon. Please call the Legislative Action Line at 1-800-372-7181 to leave a message for Jared Carpenter, State Senator for Madison and Rockcastle Counties. Indicate that you are a constituent and ask him to support HB 2 to increase the minimum wage. For more information on this important issue, please see: www.kypolicy.org
Many thanks for your participation in these activities. May we journey together during this time of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving with the fervent prayer, “This time, change our hearts.”
The St. Clare Peace and Justice Committee