Holy Thursday-Mar 24-Mass of the Lord’s Supper, 7:30pm  (at St Philips)

Good Friday Richmond Way of the Cross – gather at 10:30am at the Richmond Mall.  Ends at St Philips.

Good Friday-Mar 25-Passion of the Lord, 3pm  (at St Philips AND St Clares)

Divine Mercy Novena-Nightly March 25 through April 2, 7pm  (at St Philips)

Holy Sat-Easter Vigil, 8pm-Reception follows (no 4:30 Mass) (at St Philips)

Easter Sunday-Mass, 9 am (St Clares) and 10:30 (St Philip)

Note:  No Monday evening Mass or Bible Study on March 28th.

Fr Bob Writes – February 21st to March 13th

Following is an excerpt from an excellent article by Archbishop Lori from the most recent Colombia magazine:

“There’s no doubt about it: Lent has somber overtones. It is, after all, a period of penitence, a time for coming to terms with our sins. This is not easy, especially as we tend to avoid thinking about our sins, or try to hide them, or make excuses for them.

Through this Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has given us all an opportunity to rehabilitate Lent. He’s helping us think about it not as a time of misery but as a time of mercy. God does not play our game of sanitizing or making excuses for our sins but comes to meet us with his merciful love. “When faced with the gravity of sin, God responds with the fullness of his mercy,” wrote Pope Francis (Misericordiae Vultus, 3). “Mercy will always be greater than any sin, and no one can place limits on the love of God who is ever ready to forgive.”

Lent is not a time for unhappiness but rather a time for us to experience a new springtime in our relationship with God and others. In fact, the word “Lent” comes from an Old English word for “spring”. ..God’s mercy is indeed the very foundation of the Church’s life. We encounter his love as we listen to his Word and participate in the sacraments, including reconciliation, which is often called “the sacrament of mercy.” Yet receiving and giving God’s mercy is not something we do apart from our daily lives, in some secret recess of our hearts. God’s mercy is not to be compartmentalized; it must shape every relationship, especially with those who are nearest and dearest. Thus, the mercy we encounter in the life of the Church must also be experienced in what we call the “domestic church” – that is, the family.

 In a November 2015 general audience, Pope Francis described the family as “a great training ground for the mutual giving and forgiving without which no love can last too long.” Experience teaches that a family cannot long endure the trials and challenges of life absent a shared love that is generous, sacrificial and forgiving. In a word, our families need to receive the mercy of God, but they must also be where young people learn how to give and receive mercy. 

This year, let’s not talk about a “long Lent”. Let’s talk instead about a joyful Lent, filled with God’s abundant mercy for ourselves and for our families.”

Fr Bob Writes – February 14, 2016

We are now in the season of Lent. Our gospel for this Sunday describes Jesus being led by the Holy Spirit, after his baptism, into the desert for a face-to-face confrontation with the devil. His sojourn in the desert lasts 40 days, and so Jesus provides a model for our own Lenten season of 40 days, when we too should expect to be tested by the devil. Fr Denny Dempsey , in his commentary on this passage, has some great insights into how we can approach this time of testing and prove successful over all Satan’s schemes:

“Let’s consider what led to (Jesus’) success:

  1. Jesus went with a healthy respect for his opponent. In Luke 12:4-5 Jesus tells us not to fear those who can kill only the physical body, but the one who can cast into Gehenna (i.e. Hell): “I tell you, be afraid of that one!” This is not, of course, the fear that immobilizes a person but that which keeps one alert and prepared…a healthy respect for the power of the opposition.
  1. Jesus did not go into the desert on his own. He did not take on the devil to show off. He was led into the desert. We do not serve God’s purpose by seeking confrontations with evil or putting ourselves into situations of temptation. Those are the tests in which we so often overestimate our own powers of resistance and fail. Jesus went as the Spirit directed. The Spirit did not just drop him off but accompanied Jesus every step of the way.
  1. Jesus had studied the word of God since early childhood. He was familiar with that word and knew how to interpret and apply that word, which is precisely what he did in each of the three temptations.
  1. Jesus fasted. Going without something which the body craves is more than an act of sacrifice. Fasting asserts spiritual dominance over physical hungers and desires, enabling a person to say “No” to selfishness and self-indulgence. As an indication of a priority of values, fasting also clears the mind and heart to recognize what is truly most important when different aspects of our lives seem to be in conflict and strengthens us to choose what is best. 
  1. Jesus prayed for strength and discernment. Knowledge, as Jesus applied his years of scripture study, is valuable. Applying knowledge in each moment requires discernment. We must be people of prayer, always seeking to discern God’s will and grace to respond as God would have us do in each moment of life.

Happy Lent!!

Fr Bob Writes – February 7, 2016

Fr Denny Dempsey has a very interesting commentary for this Sunday’s gospel passage about the call of Peter by Jesus. This is what he says:

“Why would Jesus get into (Peter’s) boat? Doing so gave him a bit of distance from the crowd in a place where he could more easily be seen and heard by everyone.. you probably know how well sound can skip across water. Jesus also had an ulterior motive. He would have Peter and Andrew as a captive crowd while he preached. He had probably heard about them and had his eye on them as potential disciples. He was going to put their willingness to follow his guidance to the test.

Peter would naturally be a bit reluctant to lower the nets. He knew daytime fishing was not that great, that they would have to wash and dry the nets again, and they would be delayed in getting the boat into use for hauling cargo. Nevertheless, he did as Jesus had asked. This was a strong indication for Jesus, who then gave Peter and his companions the sign of the great catch. Fishermen needed two boats to spread the nets. They managed their business, took out loans for boats, and were licensed to fish the lake through syndicates which is why Peter had partners.

“Leaving everything” to follow Jesus did not mean abandoning their boats. Peter and his partners would still have to cover their expenses, pay off their loans, maintain licensing, and provide work for the crew of between six and ten other men whose families depended on their fishing jobs. Their decision to follow Jesus took all those things into account, kept the business going while they dedicated their time to Jesus, and assured that the boats would be available for their use whenever Jesus needed them for transportation around the lake. The decision to follow Christ today likewise requires that one be responsible to family and other obligations while somehow dedicating one’s life and possessions to the service of God. 

Can you see your everyday work as an opportunity to serve God rather than something mundane and unrelated to building up the kingdom of God? Peter had to face that challenge, and, initially, not able to put the two together, asked Jesus to depart from him. Jesus would convince Peter otherwise and turn his fishing experience into a means of fulfilling his mission. “