My Lenten Message For You
Bishop John Doerfler leads Adoration following Holy Thursday services at St. Peter Cathedral in 2017.
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
God’s peace and joy be with you.
We are about to enter the holy season of Lent, and I wish to offer a few reflections to open our hearts to the good work that the Lord would like to do in our lives.
Attending Mass and receiving ashes as a sign of our repentance from sin is an important way to begin this time of spiritual renewal. The Holy See has given some good instructions to distribute the blessed ashes safely during the time of the pandemic. It seems opportune to review them so that you know what to expect on Ash Wednesday. The Priest says the prayer for blessing the ashes and sprinkles them with holy water. Then he addresses all those present and only once either “Repent, and believe in the Gospel”, or “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return”. The Priest then cleanses his hands, puts on a face mask, and distributes the ashes to those who come to him or, if appropriate, he goes to those who are standing in their places. The Priest takes the ashes and sprinkles them on the head of each one without saying anything. The distribution of ashes is also possible outside of Mass. Check with your local parish for Mass times or other times for the distribution of ashes on Ash Wednesday.
Lent is a great time to grow in our prayer life. I highly recommend that you all spend some time adoring our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Because the host (bread) is changed into the Sacred Body of Christ at Mass, Eucharistic adoration allows us to truly gaze upon our Lord present in the Blessed Sacrament, to look at him with love, and marvel at how he longs to be present with us. During time of adoration, you may speak to the Lord in the quiet of your heart in your own words, reflect on Sacred Scripture, pray the rosary, or say your favorite prayers. Check with your local parish for adoration times.
COME TO KNOW GOD BETTER THROUGH THE BIBLE
I wish to recommend the “Bible in a Year Podcast” with Father Michael Schmitz. Though he started the podcast at the beginning of this year, you can start anytime you want because all the episodes are archived. Father Schmitz reads a portion of the Bible and offers a reflection to help to apply it in our lives. Each episode is about 20 minutes long, and Father Schmitz will read through the whole Bible in a year. You can probably find 20 minutes each day, or at least most days, to do this. For example, I have been listening to the podcast while I eat breakfast in the morning. It is a blessing to begin the day by listening to Good News when we are surrounded by so much bad news! I invite you to join me. You may subscribe to the podcast with your favorite podcast app or
access the podcasts here.
PENANCE AND WORKS OF CHARITY
Lent is a good time for us to renew our hearts through making a good confession. Contact your local parish for confession times. We also give up something for Lent: fasting from food, television, surfing the internet, etc. Let us focus our penance by offering for God’s healing of all the bad that is going on in our country and in our world. In addition, we also focus on helping others. Let us also think of those who are lonely and isolated, struggling with poverty, etc. Can we reach out with a phone call or offer a donation to help those in need?
May this holy time of Lent draw you closer to our Lord. I will be praying for you.
Most Reverend John F. Doerfler
Bishop of Marquette
on Monday, February 15 at 11:58AM