Holy week is upon us. May we take advantage of the opportunities for grace this holy time provides us. I write to you to ask you to arrange your schedule so you can participate in the solemn services. The schedule is in the next column. Think of this time as a retreat as we reflect on the events of the week.
The Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday is our special remembrance of the Last Supper and God’s wonderful gift of Holy Communion.
The Good Friday services recall the Passion of Our Lord including veneration of the cross and the opportunity to receive Communion.
The solemn Easter Vigil is the most beautiful and most inspiring liturgy of the entire year. You need to make every effort possible to be at this Mass. This is where you should be. All the elements of our faith are celebrated at this Mass. You leave the church truly uplifted in the joy of Easter. Do come. Don’t miss these celebrations of our faith.
Last week every child from the second grade to the eighth grade in our school and in our religious education program received the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the spirit of our Lenten season.
May this serve as a reminder for all of us to avail ourselves of the graces of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The Sacrament is provided at 3:30-4:30pm every Saturday and there are additional times as listed on this page.
May we all be inspired to live in a greater way the theme of Ash Wednesday and Lent to “turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel.”
I would like to give you an update on the priests that serve us here at Our Lady of Refuge Parish. Fr. Richard Rakoczy has decided to cut back on his ministry at the parish. He will no longer be saying weekend Masses here but will continue to help with weekday Masses (usually on Thursdays) and assist us with the Sacrament of Reconciliation. He has served our parish very faithfully since becoming a Senior Priest and he will continue to do so. We are all very grateful.
Fr. Leonard Obloy will continue in the same capacity offering weekend Masses, helping with the Sacrament of Reconciliation and also sharing his scriptural expertise on Saturday mornings with the Men’s and Women’s Fellowship. May God give him strength and health as he shares his priesthood with us in addition to his responsibilities on the faculty of Ss. Cyril and Methodius Seminary.
Fr. Ben O’Loughlin is making an additional commitment to our parish. He has been doing ministry in our school and celebrating the Wednesday morning school Mass. He has also been celebrating the Young at Heart Mass which we provide at 5pm on the first Sunday of each month. He will now help us by saying some additional Masses on weekends. We are thankful for his ministry and the youthfulness that he brings. We are happy he is here.
Not only are these three priests a blessing to our parish but they personally help me in pastoring the parish. I depend on them when I am fulfilling some Archdiocesan duties or taking a vacation break. I thank them.
We are blessed with the joy and grace of the Christmas season. That spirit continues with to- day’s solemn feast of the Epiphany as the child Jesus is manifested to the whole world as our Savior and Lord. This is shown in the meaning of the Three Kings coming from far away to be with the newborn King. Our Christmas season concludes with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord on Monday, January 9.
I am well aware that many parishioners put forth a lot of time and energy to allow for these beautiful days of the Christmas Season to happen. Many people in the parish have a true sense of ministry as they share their talents and volunteer their time through their involvement in the Stewardship Commission, the Christian Service Commission, the Worship Commission, the Education Commission, and the Religious Education pro- gram. All of these groups were very busy during the Advent and Christmas seasons. We as a parish have benefited from their efforts and we are grateful.
I also express thanks to all of you for making my Christmas so joyful. It is indeed a time to proclaim our faith, to be inspired and encouraged as we all grow further in our faith. I appreciate all who sent Christmas cards, gifts and baked goods to the rectory. I enjoyed them all. Thanks.