First, at our three Ash Wednesday Masses (see schedule), parishioners are invited to bring forth lists of their sins, burdens on their hearts, concerns for neighbors, and Lenten penances, and offer them to God in fire. This offering is sacramental, if done in faith.
Second, adult faith class for both St. Mark’s-St. Mary’s and for Holy Trinity start up again in the first full week of Lent. I strongly urge you to consider attending adult faith class. Here we can study and discuss different teachings of our Catholic faith. Mere passive attendance at Sunday Masses is not sufficiently nourishing for the mind and spirit. I will be offering classes on Thursday at 6:30 pm in the parish hall of St. Mark’s (beginning 21 February), and Sunday at 12:25 pm, following Mass and a light lunch, in Centerville (beginning 24 Feb.) An adult or interested teen may attend either class during the week. Please bring your Bible, and a note pad. The topic for our classes is under consideration. In addition, study is continuing in Raynesford on Tuesday evenings at 7:00 pm at the home of Lois and John Hill.
Third, I strongly encourage each parishioner to attend at least one week-day Mass each week during Lent. If you cannot attend a Mass offered at St. Mark’s, perhaps you can attend at one of the churches in Great Falls. Daily Mass is a different kind of experience from a week-end (Sunday) liturgy. Certain temperaments may prefer the quiet of a weekday Mass. In any case, it provides some additional time to hear the Word, to respond in prayer, and to receive Christ in his sacred banquet.
Fourth, Stations of the Cross will be offered at least as listed in this bulletin, but my hope is that lay persons will continue the practice at St. Mark’s and at Holy Trinity when I am unable to lead them. As a form of prayer service without a Sacrament, the Stations need not be lead by a priest. When I lead them, I intend to use a traditional Scriptural-based meditation, but a lay person is free to choose another form of the Stations. I would suggest, however, that they should not explicitly promote action (such as social justice or pro-life); it is better to keep to the Scriptures, and let the Spirit work in each heart, promoting each to take action accordingly.
Fifth, the Church’s ancient tradition teaches that the best personal penances for Lent are prayer, study, moderate fasting, and almsgiving, or forms of charity for those in need. Give of ourselves, as Christ gives of Himself to us.