Dear People of St. Mary’s, Holy Family and St. Anthony’s:
“Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”
“Metanoeite” is the Greek word behind “Repent” in today’s Gospel. In one word it says: “You must change your heart!” And if I were to arrange to have the most powerful heart changer alive today lead us on our three day Mission coming up in two weeks, it would surely be Pope Francis. However, I’m sure you realize, Pope Francis is fully engaged and committed to changing the heart of the world. …. and not able to be with us in person. So, if I were to pick the person best able to convey the Holy Father’s Spirit, I would pick Fr. John Parr.
I sat with Fr. Parr over a meal recently and we talked about Pope Francis. “Every sentence in his
Gospel of Joy is rich and powerful. He is very popular but I don’t think people have begun to understand what God is doing in this world through this extraordinary man,” Fr. Parr said.
Fortunate for us Fr. Parr has agreed to spend three evenings with us sharing what he finds so moving about the words and work of Pope Francis. Plan now to come Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, March 2, 3, and 4. Monday he will explore Pope Francis’ notion of Faith. Tuesday will be on Hope. And Wednesday we will fathom his understanding of Charity. From 6:30pm to 7:15pm Fr. Parr and I will be available to hear confessions. At 7:30pm we will begin with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Then Fr. Parr will speak. About 7:45pm we will celebrate Benediction. At 8:30pm all will be invited to the Church hall for refreshments and fellowship.
Fr. Parr is presently pastor of St. Elizabeth’s in Holmen. In my humble opinion, he is the best preacher in the Diocese of La Crosse. And he
loves Pope Francis. We will tape the three sessions of the Mission so that at a later time they can be shared in each parish with those reluctant to travel on cold winter nights. Whether in person or by recording, come open to
Although it wasn’t originally planned this way, holding our Convocation on the first Sunday of Lent with Christ’s command to
Metanoeite for Gospel, is perfect timing. We all know that the future growth and vitality of our parishes depends not on a program or new carpeting in the Church. It depends on our willingness to be changed ever more into the image and likeness of Christ. The goals and action plans developed today will go to our Pastoral Councils for prioritizing, then to the Finance Councils for building into our budgets for the coming year. Please hold us in prayer as you go about your day today!
Lastly, at 2:00pm today, Rob Rinehart, Debra Stachowicz, Mary Denk and Jason Bravener will stand before Bishop Callahan in St. Joseph The Workman Cathedral in La Crosse. There he will turn to Mary Anne Rinehart, Lois Vesbach, Jill Gregorich and Toni Bravener their sponsors and ask: “As God is your witness, do you consider these candidates ready to receive the sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist?” When they respond “yes” Bishop Callahan will say: “Rob, Debra, Mary and Jason, the Church recognizes your desire to have a place at Christ’s Eucharistic table. Join with us this Lent in a spirit of repentance. Hear the Lord’s call to conversion and be faithful to your baptismal covenant.” He will invite them to continued “
Metanoiete” with us.
Together then, let us respond to Christ’s invitation this First Sunday of Lent: Repent, and believe in the Gospel.