Letter from the Pastor
Dearest Friends in Christ,
Here we are again just ten days away from the liturgical season of Lent. It’s surprising I know but it is an early Lent which means an early Easter. So Lent is upon us with all its wonderful practices and devotions. From our Lenten penances, fasts, and almsgiving to Stations of the Cross and Eucharistic adoration, Lent is that annual period of forty days beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on Holy Thursday before the Mass celebrating the institution of the Lord’s Supper, which is the beginning of the Easter Triduum (three days). Ash Wednesday this is year is on February 10th when every Catholic seems to do everything and anything to get to Mass for their ashes. Even non-Catholics are drawn to Catholic churches to experience this practice of receiving ashes on one’s forehead. Our Mass schedule will be as follows: 12noon English Mass at St. Ann, 6pm English Mass at ODS and 8pm Spanish Mass at ODS.
It is my prayer and hope that as a parish we may fully embrace this allotted time of many great devotions and traditions in order to further advance together along this path of holiness so that we may all one day be welcomed to that Heavenly Banquet Feast of the Lamb of God. As St. John Henry Cardinal Newman once said, “They alone can truly feast, who have first fasted.” Let us pray for each other this coming Lenten season and journey together along this road that will truly lead us to heaven.
Since Lent is the season for fasting, we will be celebrating Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) on February 9th at 6pm. The origins of Mardi Gras go back to the medieval times in Europe, primarily in Rome and Venice and was called Carnival, which began traditionally from the Epiphany to the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. The word Carnival itself more than likely derives from Latin or Italian, meaning basically “farewell or removing of meat”. This etymology makes perfect sense when we think of the traditional fasting from meat throughout Lent.
Now while Mardi Gras as celebrated today in New Orleans is for many disconnected from its religious origins, nevertheless there are those, especially our beloved Cajuns at ODS, who are deeply rooted in the true meaning of Mardi Gras and its connection with the Lenten Fast. And so it is for this reason that we will be celebrating Mardi Gras here at Our Divine Saviour Parish. Besides it is a great way to raise funds for the renovation of the Education Building and it is just fun to celebrate Mardi Gras!
Pax et bonum,
Fr. Justin R. Ferguson