Pastor’s Corner

Dear Sacred Heart of Jesus Family

Happy Carnival, Fat Tuesday, and a blessed beginning to the sacred season of Lent! This week we are blessed to welcome Fr. Michael Duesterhaus to Sacred Heart of Jesus; he is a hard working, dedicated and joyful priest. This Sunday, after the 9:15 and 11:15 Mass, please join us downstairs in Muldowney Hall to welcome him to the parish!

Also this week, we follow the Lord’s example as He entered the desert for 40 days and 40 nights. Ash Wednesday reminds us that Our Lord has gone to pray, intercede, and search for us. Prayer, almsgiving, and sacrifice are the ways in which we restore our relationship with God, neighbor and ourselves. Time in prayer restores and reboots our relationship with the Lord. Giving up unnecessary things, and sacrificing for those in need, grows charity with our neighbor. Giving up things we enjoy helps us to renew our self-mastery and freedom. Saint Teresa of Calcutta said the secret of J.O.Y. is “Jesus, Others, and You.” Lent helps to restore that secret.

And yes, Valentine’s Day is Ash Wednesday. While Ash Wednesday is not a holy day of obligation, it is best to celebrate with Mass. If you cannot come, you are not committing sin. Mass will be at 7, 8:30, noon, and 7 pm. Can you observe Valentine’s Day this year? With the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, yes! We have to abstain from meat, and fast, so that means no snacks in between, and less eating. Here are the norms which bind us on Wednesday, from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB):

“Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are obligatory days of fasting and abstinence for Catholics. In addition, Fridays during Lent are obligatory days of abstinence. For members of the Latin Catholic Church, the norms on fasting are obligatory from age 18 until age 59. When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal. The norms concerning abstinence from meat are binding upon members of the Latin Catholic Church from age 14 onwards. Fasting on these days means we can have only one full, meatless meal. Some food can be taken at the other regular meal times if necessary, but combined they should be less than a full meal. Liquids are allowed at any time, but no solid food should be consumed between meals. Those that are excused from fast and abstinence outside the age limits include the physically or mentally ill including individuals suffering from chronic illnesses such as diabetes. Also excluded are pregnant or nursing women. In all cases, common sense should prevail, and ill persons should not further jeopardize their health by fasting.”

Show your love for your beloved, with the supernatural love from Our Beloved! St. Valentine sacrificed his life for Jesus, this year, let us show our love and joy by cards, flowers, kindness and the spirit of sacrifice. Maybe your one main meal can be a nice seafood meal, loving others with His Love. We thank God for this special time of grace, and for the gift of Fr. Michael Deusterhaus!

In Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart,
Fr. Bjorn Lundberg