From the Pastor – February 7th, 2016

frmnicks_mug_smallThe privileged season of Lent begins in just a few days with the celebration of Ash Wednesday. Though, perhaps, somewhat rushed, this gives us a small amount of time to prepare ourselves to enter fully into this period of preparation. To do that, however, we need to know what we hope to accomplish during these forty days leading up to Easter.

One of the great gifts of our faith is the promise, not only of salvation, but also of sanctification. We are not merely declared justified by the Blood of the Lamb. His Blood transforms us. God can and, at times, does bring about our salvation in a moment, as when he promised the good thief: “this day thou shalt be with me in paradise.” Yet, we do not look to the good thief as a model of Christian perfection, holiness, and newness of life in Christ. Rather, we look to the lives of Saints who, over weeks, months and years slowly began to shine more and more radiantly with the new life of Christ.

Like the Saints, we are called to an ever-greater transformation of our interior lives. This process is called sanctification – being made holy or God-like. It is a gift of God’s grace in our lives and the fruit of our cooperation with that grace. Though we are called to greater sanctity every day of our lives, in the great season of Lent, we renew our commitment and focus our efforts to grow in that holiness to which we are called. As Christians, our goal in Lent is a deepening experience of sanctification.

As sanctification is the fruit of our cooperation with God’s transforming grace in our lives, it is necessary to know the means by which we are to cooperate. To that end, Christ gives us three tools or means by which we cooperate in the work of sanctification: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

Each of these requires further reflection to understand the way in which they lead us upon the path of sanctification; each will be considered in more detail throughout this season. For now, though, it is enough that Christ has given us these as our tools and that the Saints have used them without fail to such great effect throughout the centuries. In the next three days, we each can select and commit to concrete methods in which to pray, fast, and give alms throughout Lent so as to cooperate with God’s grace and experience more fully His sanctification – the transformation of our interior lives as we put on the likeness of Christ.


Stations of the Cross

Every year in Rome, a custom that originated over 15 centuries ago is observed-the visiting of Station Churches. Nowadays, during the 40 Days of Lent, Catholics throughout Rome join together visiting and praying at a different church each day. This is easily done since there are over 400 Catholic Churches! This year, we will be doing something similar by observing a Stational Stations of the Cross. Each Friday during Lent, the priests of Walla Walla will gather at 7PM in one of our parishes for a communal celebration of the Stations of the Cross. The schedule is as follows:

Feb. 12th – St. Francis
Feb. 19th – Assumption
Feb. 26th – St. Patrick
Mar. 4th – St. Francis
Mar. 11th – Assumption

And, as this is Walla Walla, how could we all gather together without food! As such, the Knights of Columbus Fish Fry will also be following the same schedule and open from 4-7PM. Hope to see you there!

In Christ,
frmnicks_sig
Fr. Nicks

P.S. I know I had promised to talk about vocations to the religious life this week, but Lent snuck up on me. I will return to this most blessed of vocations following our Lenten season.

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The Shape of Holy Lent

Our Lenten Journey Together in 2016

Week – First Week of Lent
Penance – Sweets and Treats
Scripture Reading – Creation and Fall

As we enter Holy Lent this year at St. Francis, St. Patrick, and Assumption Catholic Parishes, we hope to recapture the communal nature of Lenten practices as a Parish Family. Each week, in this same section of our Tri-Parish bulletin, you and your families will be provided with a description and schedule of what we are invited to do together during this holy time: a penance for each week and a plan for Scripture readings. Additional Lenten readings and practices will also be provided. Make sure to check back each week, and have a blessed Lent!

Weekly Fasts
Fasting is linked with repentance throughout the Scriptures. When we fast we are reminded spiritually and even physically of our weakness, our finitude, and our need for God. Each week, we will fast from a particular pleasure. All Sundays are “feast” days when, in celebration of the Resurrection, we break our fasts. You may choose to do each of the suggested communal fasts for one week only; or you may let them build on each other, so that by the end of Lent you are doing all six weekly fasts at the same time.

Daily Readings
During Lent we will be reading a common set of Scriptures together. On each day we will read about twenty to forty verses; the equivalent of two to three pages in a novel. Our readings will take us through salvation history, beginning with creation and moving towards the climax of God’s redemption and the beginning of the new creation through Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Please come to these upcoming YAM events!

February 8: Prayer Night with Confessions
(St. Francis Parish, 722 W Alder St, Walla Walla)

February 15: Scripture Study
(Jubilee Coffee House, 311 S Main St, Milton Freewater)

February 22: “What is the ‘Chair of Peter’?”, with guest speaker Thomas Lederer
(St. Francis Parish Hall, 925 Vining St, Milton Freewater)

Serra Club

Parishioners, from the Walla Walla Valley parishes, interested in promoting vocations to the religious life and the priesthood, are establishing a local chapter of the Serra Club. The next meeting is Sunday, February 21st at 3PM in St. Francis Hall. The Serra Club is an international organization that provides Catholics programming to help identify and assist those who think they might be called to the vocation of the priesthood or religious life. If you are interested in helping, please plan on attending this gathering.

Announcing Upcoming Fish Fries

Michael Flohr Council 766 will be serving Lenten meals. We will be serving the meals prior to Stations of the Cross from 4:30pm to 7pm on February 12, 19, 26 and March 4 and 11. The rotation for Stations of the Cross for the five Fridays we will be serving meals is St. Francis, Assumption, St. Patrick, St. Francis and Assumption, respectively. We will be serving breaded cod fillets and soup along with french fries and coleslaw. Containers are available for to-go orders. Majority of proceeds to benefit the Catholic School’s Retreat Program.

Grand Knight/ Nick Moramarco/
509-520-8226 michaelflohr766@gmail.com
For more information visit: www.koc766.org

Women of Faith

The group has decided to replace the Pilgrimage book (which has not arrived yet) with Divine Mercy by Stephen Binz. We begin Feb. 11, in the St. John room on Thursdays from 1 – 3. All women are welcome. You can purchase your copy of Divine Mercy at 23rdpublications.com, under the Threshold bible studies.This book focuses on how God has shown mercy on humanity, starting in the Old Testament, then in the Gospels and letters in the New Testament. A great way to deepen your Lenten journey and to celebrate this Year of Divine Mercy. For more info contact Sue Logsdon at slogsdon@hotmail.com or 529-3719.

Catholic Schools Week

Thank you for supporting and participating in our special Catholic Schools Week events!

Please visit our school website for more information and to see what’s happening each week!

And, enjoy this WWCS video linked on the homepage, “Who We Are” a video on “Where We Have Come From and What We Believe In” by the Nazareth Guild 2015.

Upcoming School Events
Assumption School Mass – February 10, Wednesday 8:30 a.m. Assumption Church
Ash Wednesday Mass – February 10, at 11:15 at DeSales High School
WWCS Booster Club Meeting – February 8, at DeSales High School

Fasting

Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are obligatory days of fasting for Catholics ages 14-59. Fridays during Lent are obligatory days of abstinence from meat. Fasting equals one regular sized meal and two smaller meals that together do not equal the first.

Reconciliation during Lent, 2016

Tuesday, 6:45 am – St. Francis
Wednesday, 4:30 pm – St. Patrick
Friday, 9:00 am – Assumption
Saturday, 4:00 pm – Assumption
Saturday, 5:00 pm – St. Francis
Sunday, 9:00am – St. Patrick
Sunday, 9:30am – Assumption
Sunday, 11:00am – St. Patrick

Ash Wednesday Mass Times, 2016

7:15 AM – St. Francis
8:30 AM – Assumption
12:10 PM – St. Patrick
6:00 PM – Assumption
6:00 PM – St. Patrick (Spanish)
7:30 PM – St. Patrick
(Spanish Liturgy of Word and Ashes)

Stations of the Cross, 2016

February 12th – St. Francis
February 19th – Assumption
February 26th – St. Patrick
March 4th – St. Francis
March 11th – Assumption