Each year, Lent offers us a providential opportunity to deepen the meaning and value of our Christian lives, and it stimulates us to rediscover the mercy of God so that we, in turn, become more merciful toward our brothers and sisters. In the Lenten period, the Church makes it her duty to propose some specific tasks that accompany the faithful concretely in this process of interior renewal: these are prayer, fasting and alms giving For this year’s Lenten Message, I wish to spend some time reflecting on the practice of alms giving which represents a specific way to assist those in need and , at the same time, an exercise in self-denial to free us from attachment to worldly goods. The force of attraction to material riches and just how categorical our decision must be not to make of them an idol, Jesus confirms in a resolute way: “You cannot serve God and mammon” (Lk 16, 13). Alms giving helps us to overcome this constant temptation, teaching us to respond to our neighbor’s needs and to share with others whatever we possess through divine goodness. Once again through Lent we are reminded to fast, pray and give alms. The discipline of fasting can involve food it can involve our time and our talent. The discipline of prayer not only deepens our relationship with God but it also strengthens all our relationships. The discipline of alms giving is directed at the poor and the forgotten. Especially during Lent, I encourage you to use our Church as a House of Prayer. Please get in the habit of praying before the Blessed Sacrament. Invite Christ and His grace to touch your life and the life of your family. I know people who do this daily and they testify to how this has changed their life and their perspective on life. Use Lent to place your life in the hands of God.
As to alms giving — remember to use our Lenten Folders and Lenten Cans as a constant reminder of Lent. These can be used at home, each day, to remind us to help others and to do good for others. At the end of Lent, we will have two missionaries with us – Fr. Carlos Morales, from Central America, and Fr. John Heinz, who has served in Peru and is caring for our Province Mission in Viet Nam. Your Lenten alms giving will be given to them and will help the Church in two very challenging areas of our world. Fr. Carlos works in an area where the poverty is great — people earn $2.00 per day. Our Mission in Viet Nam has great poverty and many, many challenges dealing with the Communist Government.