Last week, we saw Jesus taking a break from his daily work. He got up in time to see the sun rise in a deserted place, and he prayed.  After this, he tells his disciples he is going to begin visiting the nearby towns.

How quickly things change!  In today’s gospel, he is already so popular, it was impossible for him to enter towns openly.  He is more than a celebrity, he is hope for all who reach out to him.

So he once again retreats to the desert, and this time, people are drawn after him.  This too is important.  We need to go back and forth between a quiet place where we can find God’s peace, and then carry it out to people that need it.  Yet over time, as we do this, others begin to be drawn to that same road.  Some of the earliest monks were communities of people following a holy person who had initially gone out into the desert to be alone with God!  They grew and grew in number and organization until they became monasteries, built around the idea of being alone together, of giving up city comforts to live in the desert, of sacrificing everything to find the peace that comes from God.

So we see a progression here: Jesus’s healing was always popular, but people are beginning to join him in the desert as well.  And it is in the desert that we find God.

Whatever our little daily desert may be, the peace that we can find there and share with others is attractive.  In the “cities” of busyness and distraction, of anxiety and outrage, peace is slowly drained.  We need to find it again not just for ourselves, not just to carry it to those who need it, but in the hope that someday they will learn to join us in the desert.

Peace ~ Fr. Dan

 

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Office of the Bishop

Dear Diocesan Family,

As you are likely aware, St. Valentine’s Day falls on Ash Wednesday this year. This is the first time these two occasions have overlapped since 1945. As a result, some people have inquired as to whether a dispensation from the Ash Wednesday fast and abstinence will be granted.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten season, which is a solemn time of prayer and penance for the Catholic Church. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are the only two days of the year on which fasting and abstinence are required. Due to the importance of Ash Wednesday in the lives of all Catholics – and even many of our non-Catholic brothers and sisters – a dispensation will not be granted.

Those who are accustomed to celebrating St. Valentine’s Day might do so the day before (Mardi Gras) or on another non-penitential day. As we make this sacrifice, we should consider the immense love of Our Lord, who suffered and died for us!

It is especially important that parents help their children to understand the significance of Ash Wednesday and why it supersedes the celebration of St. Valentine’s Day in the life of a Catholic.

Be assured of my prayers for you as we embark upon this Lenten season. May it be a time of grace and mercy for each of you!

Yours sincerely in Christ,

Most Reverend Richard J. Malone

The Light is On for You

Celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation

During this Season of Lent, Catholic Parishes in the Diocese of Buffalo will once again be open for the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) on Wednesday evenings from 5-7pm. Confessions will be offered at St. Maximilian Kolbe on Saturdays from 4:00-4:30PM in Corfu and on First Fridays after 11AM Mass in East Pembroke and on Wednesday evenings from 6:30-7PM and after 7PM Mass until 8:30PM. Whether you regularly go to Confession or you haven’t been in decades, we encourage you to make this Season an opportunity to receive the mercy of God in a new way and to find healing and joy in His great Sacrament. Father Dan invites you to prepare yourself to be spiritually beautiful in anticipation of the Resurrection of our Lord.

You are invited to join us every Wednesday during Lent at Noon, as Christians from all denominations come together to eat and remember our Lenten journey together. This is a community activity and a wonderful way to share our faith. We encourage you to visit the area churches for the Lenten Lunch series. Whether you can attend one or all of the lunches, you will find them inspiring and delicious. Free will donations will benefit a local charity. The Lenten Lunch schedule for this year is:

February 21st – Indian Falls United Methodist Church

February 28th – Pembroke Community at Indian Falls United Methodist Church

March 7th – East Pembroke Cornerstone Church

March 14th – Corfu United Presbyterian Church

March 21st – St. Maximilian Kolbe Church (EP Hall)

We will be hosting the last Lenten Lunch on March 21st and we hope that you will come and perhaps help serve or provide some food for the luncheon. Contact Cindy at the Parish Office for more information.

ABSTINENCE: All Catholics who have reached their 14th birthday are bound to abstain totally from meat on the following days – Ash Wednesday, all Fridays of Lent and Good Friday.

FASTING: All Catholics between their 18th and 59th birthdays are also bound to observe the Law of Fast on the following days – Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. This practice involves limiting oneself to a single full meal and avoiding food between meals. Light sustenance may be taken on two other occasions in the course of the day.

EASTER DUTY: After they have been initiated into the Most Holy Eucharist, all the faithful are bound by the obligation of receiving Communion at least once a year. This precept must be fulfilled during the Easter season, unless for a good reason it is fulfilled at another time during the year. This obligation may be fulfilled between February 18th, (first Sunday in Lent) and May 27th (Trinity Sunday).

The following should also be noted:

  • Reconciliation: Catholics are bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year (Canon 989).
  • Other Fridays of the year: Catholics should be reminded that all other Fridays of the year remain as days of penance, in prayerful remembrance of the Passion of Jesus Christ.
  • Obligation: The obligation which we have as members of the Church to do penance is a serious one. Furthermore, the obligation to observe, as a whole or “substantially”, the penitential days specified by the Church is a serious one.
  • While no one should hold himself or herself lightly excused, one should not become unduly scrupulous. Failure to observe individual days of penance is less serious than the failure to observe any penitential days at all or a substantial number of such days.

AN INVITATION: In the name of peace, and in union with the Bishops of our country, the faithful of this Diocese are invited to add voluntary fasting to the practice of penance during the Fridays of the year. Together with works of charity and service toward our neighbors, this practice would become a sign of our commitment to conversion, reconciliation and peace. (The Challenge of Peace, Art. 298)

I hardly know where to start …

All of your calls, visits, cards and prayers are very much appreciated and such a comfort. I am wrapped in prayer with the prayer shawl that was given to me. I have had my staples removed and am faithfully doing my exercises and listening to the doctor. I have a follow up appointment with the doctor at the end of the month and hope to be able to start driving after that. Thank you for all of your well-wishes and prayers.

Peace and God’s Blessings,

Sr. Barbara Ann, OSF

If you would like to send her a card, you can send it to the parish office or to her home: Sister Barbara Ann Bogden, Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities, 201 Reist Street, Williamsville, NY 14221.

LENTEN DEVOTION

During Lent will have Stations of the Cross on Friday Nights at 7PM

(alternating between sites)

Friday, February 16th, 7PM, Corfu Site

Friday, February 23rd, 7PM, E. Pembroke Site

Friday, March 2nd, 7PM, Corfu Site

Friday, March 9th, 7PM, E. Pembroke Site

Friday, March 16th, 7PM, Corfu Site

Friday, March 23rd, 7PM, E. Pembroke Site