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Lent Prayer

We are already into the Lenten season. The ashes we received on Ash Wednesday remind us of Christ’s call to repentance as expressed in the words said during their imposition: “Turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel!” Borrowing the words of Paul we can say, “Lent is the acceptable time, a time of grace.” As we begin this holy season I would like to invite all of us to embark on a journey of conversion and spiritual renewal.

 

In the Early Church the Lenten season was originally the period when catechumens preparing for baptism intensified their preparation. This was a powerful time when they sought to enter more deeply into Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection (the Paschal mystery). Eventually the whole Church joined the catechumens on their journey not merely as spectators but as participants. All Christians undertook certain practices in order to be ready for a worthy celebration of Easter. The three pillars on which the edifice of Lenten observance rests are prayer, fasting and almsgiving. In this column I would like to dwell a little on the first pillar, namely, prayer.

Some people tend to think that prayer is about technique and strategy. I believe that prayer is all about relationship. Just as in our significant relationships, we cannot draw closer to those we love if we do not spend much time with them. Prayer is basically holding a conversation with the Lord. We can talk with God about anything, anytime, anywhere. During this season I would like to encourage all of us to set aside time for prayer, both communal and personal. I am fully aware that your lives are very busy. I am proposing a few ways we all can nurture our prayer life. Each of us can choose to do what we can within our resources.

First of all, let us try to find time for personal prayer. For some of us turning to Scripture would be the way to go. We can resolve to finish reading one Gospel during the forty days of Lent. Others may use their prayer time in quiet meditation. In this parish we have the great possibility of praying before the Blessed Sacrament day or night. If possible, we can commit to one hour every week and hold ourselves accountable for that hour of prayer before our Eucharistic Lord. I strongly urge families and individuals to spend some time in the Adoration Chapel on a regular basis.

Secondly, I would like to encourage you to celebrate the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation. Never miss a Sunday Mass. If you can, attend Mass on a weekday. It certainly will call for special effort and sacrifice. I know that most of you cannot make it to daily Mass. The weekday Mass offers the possibility for silence and prayer in a subdued environment. I know many of you go to confession on a regular basis. For those who do not, Lent is a suitable time to approach the sacrament and experience God’s forgiveness once again. The parish communal penance service with opportunity for individual confession will be celebrated on Monday, March 26.

Third, it will be good for all of us to engage in some devotion centered on the passion of Christ. The season of Lent has traditionally been a time to contemplate the suffering and the death of the Lord through the practice of the Stations of the Cross. In our parish we will Stations every Friday at 7:30 pm. However, we gather at 7 pm to spend thirty minutes in silent adoration. I encourage all to consider taking time off your busy schedule to pray the Way of the Cross on any Friday you can. You can also pray the Stations on your own when the church is open. If you cannot do it in the time scheduled in the parish, perhaps you can prayerfully read the account of Jesus’ last hours as recounted by one of the gospels.

Finally, I would like to encourage all the households in the parish to engage in some form of family prayer during Lent. I know many of you pray before meals. Why not consider doing something special during Lent? Perhaps you can read the Sunday readings and share your reflections with each other. Maybe you can recite the Rosary together. I hope you will find some way to be together in family prayer.

I know for sure that we are very good at praying together as a community during our Sunday Eucharist. Please know that our participation in communal prayer needs to be nourished and strengthened by our personal prayer. The Lord who spent enormous amount of time serving the crowds retired into the desert to be alone with the Father. Even as we continue to celebrate the Eucharist as a community, let us find the time to commune with the Lord in private. May this Lent enable us to grow in our life of prayer!

Let us pray for the parish that this Lent will be a time of grace and renewal.

Mission Statement: As children of God, living in a Catholic community of faith, we are united by the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. Aware that all we have is gift and grace from our Heavenly Father, we strive to give of our time, talent and treasure to build His kingdom on earth. We live this mission, challenged by the Word, nurtured by the Sacraments, and enlivened by the Spirit, to serve our brothers and sisters in peace, justice and dignity. All are welcome on this journey.

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Contact Information

St. Paul of the Cross

320 South Washington Street
Park Ridge, IL 60068


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Phone: (847) 825-7605
Fax: (847) 825-5186

Mass Schedule

Sunday

7:30 a.m. - Upper Church
9 a.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel
10:30 a.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel
12 p.m. - Upper Church
5:30 p.m. - Upper Church

Monday - Friday

6:25 a.m. - Upper Church
8:30 a.m. - Upper Church

Saturday

8 a.m. - Upper Church
4:30 p.m. - Upper Church & Holy Family Chapel