Lent 2011 – Standing by the Cross of Jesus

March 4th, 2011  |  Published in News

Dear Friends,

When was the last time you took a trip? Was it this past winter, skiing in the mountains of Pennsylvania or Vermont? Maybe it was to someplace warm like Florida or the Bahamas. Perhaps it was last summer to visit relatives out west or to relax at the beach? Maybe you don’t remember the last time you went away. Well today I’d like to invite you to take a journey with the Church. It’s not on any kind of trip that I’m inviting you to embark, but on a pilgrimage to the cross of Jesus through the forty days of Lent.

Pilgrimages have been a part of our Catholic heritage for centuries. Christian men and women have journeyed to sacred sites like the Holy Land, Lourdes and Santiago di Compostela to find the presence of God, Mary and the saints. Pilgrimages never involve just a geographical journey, but an inner one as well, a journey that leads to a change in one’s outlook, in one’s life. A journey to the cross of Christ through Lent is certainly that kind of pilgrimage. No passport is needed, just a heart willing to change, willing to become more like Christ’s.

Each day of Lent invites us to journey, “stand by the cross of Jesus,” devoting ourselves to prayer, acts of penance and deeds of charity. Incorporating these practices into the daily ebb and flow of our lives has the ability to transform us more and more into committed followers of the Lord, into images of the living Christ for our families, our community and our world.

Our Lenten pilgrimage begins a few days early this year with our Parish Mission. Leading us on this pilgrimage of forty days will be Fr. Bill Gaffney, a Redemptorist priest from New Jersey. Fr. Gaffney will be with us from March 6th through March 9th (Ash Wednesday) helping us to renew our hope in the power of Christ’s cross to transform our hearts and our lives. I hope you and your family will join Fr. Gaffney for all or part of these days. The Mission is open to all members of our parish, individuals, couples and families with children. Sessions will be held both in the morning and evening.

Finally, to guide us throughout this pilgrimage of faith I have enclosed a “map,” for your use, our parish Lenten Calendar of prayer and service. Please take time to review the calendar and mark your personal calendar with the opportunities provided. Together let us journey to the cross of Jesus, behold the power and wisdom of that wondrous cross and allow it, allow Him, to transform us.


Rev. John T. Dakes