A letter from Father Jim

My dear parish family,
It doesn't seem possible, but this coming Wednesday is ASH WEDNESDAY, the beginning of LENT, our season of preparation for the celebration of the Lord's Passion, Death and Resurrection.  The Church has traditionally looked upon these days of Lent as a forty-day retreat that the entire People of God make together.  While this first day of the season of Lent is not a Holy Day of Obligation for us Catholics, we do try to mark this Ash Wednesday-even during a time of pandemic--with special observances.  
 
Ash Wednesday is a day of FASTING AND ABSTINENCE for all Catholics.  We not only abstain from meat on this day, but we seriously cut back on any other food that we eat: eating only the equivalent of one full meal in the course of the day.  Maybe during this time of fast and abstinence embraced by the whole family of the Church, God may also be calling us to "abstain" from television programs or video games or websites that we habitually and mindlessly watch.  Maybe a more personal challenge from the Lord is that we "fast" from critical comments or gossip or some other damaging and hurtful habits.We have a special set of Masses and Prayer Services scheduled for Ash Wednesday:

  • 7:00 am Mass will be celebrated, and ashes distributed at its conclusion
  • 9:30 am Livestream Mass click here
  • 10:00 am Prayer Service at which ashes will be distributed
  • 12:00 pm Mass will be celebrated, and ashes will be distributed at its conclusion
  • 4:00 pm Prayer Service at which ashes will be distributed
  • 6:00 pm Mass will be celebrated, and ashes will be distributed at its conclusion
  • 7:30 pm St. Jude Novena

We want to get this schedule of Masses and Prayer Services out to you plenty of time in advance.  If it is possible for you to join us, please do!  At each of these Masses and Services ashes will be administered to all in attendance.  

There will also be little containers with blessed ashes available to anyone who wants to administer them to others in their household or neighborhood who would like to receive them.  There will be a brief prayer service provided for use in those homes.  Any blessed ashes that are left over should not be thrown away, but can simply be placed on the ground to refresh your favorite plant.
 
Every Friday during the season of Lent we will be praying THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS at 7:00 p.m. in the church.  Please join us for this powerful devotional time which helps us reflect on Jesus' Passion and Death on the Cross for our sakes--and also helps us find our own share in the Cross of Christ, and bear it with love.
 
Lent is also a time when we make a special effort to celebrate THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION.  We will not be able to have a Reconciliation Service as we have had in previous years, but we will have plenty of opportunities to celebrate this Sacrament.  Every Saturday and Sunday evening at 6:00pm we will be hearing confessions at the foot of the crucifix in the sanctuary of the church.  We will be publicizing the availability of the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the other parishes here in the Conejo Valley, too.
 
There will be more information coming to you about  the season of Lent in the days to come, but please take note of this special schedule for our services on Ash Wednesday and mark your calendars appropriately!

Peace in His service,

Father Jim