Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Year Of Mercy Novena of Prayer and Fasting

Please join us for a special Year of Mercy Novena of Prayer and Fasting!  We are just hours away from entering Lent.  Some have shared that there is a feeling that this Lent is special.  There is a desire in one's heart to do something more for Our Lord. Indeed, it is special.  We are within an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.  We are making our way toward the Cross, the source of Mercy. The Rosary and Our Lady both lead us to the foot of the Cross.  This year something remarkable also will happen.  The Annunciation, which traditionally falls on March 25th, is also the day Good Friday is celebrated.  The Catholic Church transfers celebration of the Annunciation to April 4th this year.  Yet, 9 months from March 25th is Christmas so even though celebration of the Annunciation is transferred, one is aware of the wonderful connection of these dates. Indeed it is a recognition of the moment Our Lord said, "Not as I will but as you will" (Matthew 26:39) and Our Blessed Mother said, "Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to Thy will"(Luke 1:38).  What if we, in our humility, could come before the Cross this year and say, "Thy will be done," with our whole heart...allowing all the ties of this world to be stripped away and say, "Yes," to all God has planned for each of us? 
The words of a famous song come to mind, let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.  Yes, may this year be something very special for each of us. Let it begin with each of us.  Recently, I heard a Rabbi speak about the time when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments.  The Rabbi explained that unlike the English language, some languages have a separate word for you singular and you plural.  When God gave the Ten Commandments he chose to use you singular.  His directive was specific to each of us.  Likewise, in reading the life of St. Francis of Assisi one sees that it was only when St. Francis embraced the leper did the Lord begin to bring him a great many people to help with his Apostolic work.  Indeed, it would seem the Lord waits for us to embrace our leper or in another terms open our heart to His will completely which is guided in all things by love.  Once we achieve this, many things in our lives which seemed "stuck" become "unstuck".  
To help us all come before Our Lord on Good Friday this year with a completely open heart, we would like to invite you to participate in a 9 day novena of prayer and fasting from March 17th through March 25th.  The Novena will kick off on the evening of March 16th when the Children's Rosary will host the Relics of the Passion.  Included in this special Year of Mercy Tour of the Relics of the Passion is a piece of the True Cross.  The relics will be coming to a Church named after St. Helena, the person who is credited as discovering the True Cross.  For all those who would like to participate in this Year of Mercy Novena of Prayer and Fasting you are invited to send your name to be placed at the foot of the Cross on March 16th during the visit of the relics.  We will pray and offer up all those names during the evening of prayer.  We are inviting all those in the vicinity of St. Helena Church in West Hartford, CT USA to join us that evening at 7PM EST.  For those who live far away unify prayers with us. We would like to have as many children involved with hosting the Relics of the Passion as possible on the evening of March 16th.
Novena March 17-25 
1) Pray one Rosary each day meditating on the life of Christ
2) Fast for 9 days

We feel extremely blessed to have the opportunity to begin our fast at the cross and end with the cross.  
While some may be able to do a bread and water fast for the nine days, others may find the Lord calling them to some other sacrifice.  The Lord will ask something of each of us.  For children, some may be drawn to a level of fasting but careful discernment should be taken with their parents to help find a special sacrifice to give to Our Lord.
This past Sunday, the Pastor of our Parish stated, "without risk there is no faith.  The level of risk is proportional to ones faith". Indeed to venture out into the deep as Peter did is a risk, but when we do so for the Lord what will we find in our nets?  Let this be the Lent when we give Our Lord everything.  Let us fast and pray that we may say Thy Will Be Done on Good Friday and like never before join Our Lord at the Cross and bask in His Mercy.
If you would like to participate in the Year of Mercy Novena of Prayer and Fasting and have your name placed before the relic of the True Cross on March 16th please email Blythe Kaufman at blythe.kaufman@gmail to give your name.
Please also email Blythe Kaufman if you have a child who would like to help with the Relics of the Passion Visit on March 16th at St. Helena Church in West Hartford CT.  The event will begin at 7PM.  Children involved will be asked to come at 6:15 PM.

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