It is tax time – if you need a contribution receipt please let us know. Did you know that we take all the loose checks in the weekly collection and record them in our Collection software program? We have done this for the purpose of having addresses to send thank you notes, and for tax purposes. We have so many checks from the Drive-In Mass that I thought this might be helpful. Remember for this year, regardless of whether you itemize or not, you can write off up to $300.00 in charitable contributions. Please make sure to take the deduction! If there is anything we can do to help, let us know and we will respond in a timely manner.

This past week we celebrated Ash Wednesday and ushered in the Season of Lent. I picked up new ashes earlier in the week while I was in Arlington, off for a few days. I returned to the parish Wednesday morning, and had the chance to use the new ashes on my parents. My poor mother ended up with a huge smudge on her forehead (not intentional, I swear) with the rest of the ashes dripping all over her nose…she had just applied her makeup. I guess I won’t be visiting Arlington for a few weeks (months?). I again want to thank our Knights of Columbus and other ministries for assisting us in having an outdoor Drive-In Mass. You are a blessing to the parish and may God’s favor be with you!

I have asked Mike Hurm to start making small video presentations on a Lenten Theme. This weekend you will see a two minute short film right after Communion. This will be a meditation short film and will have closed captions for the weekly spiritual thought. These are made by the parish and not purchased from a vendor; it is remarkable to see the professional grade of these films. We will continue to develop our social media and digital ministry.

This week’s Second Collection is for the Support of the Church around the world. The Archdiocese has consolidated the number of second collections and grouped certain organizations together. In this case the 2nd collection is earmarked for the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the Church in Africa, the Central and Eastern Europe and three home missions: the Military Archdiocese, Home Missions and the Black and Indian Missions. As you recall we don’t have the ability to take two collections, so we take a proportion from the regular weekly offertory which is equivalent to year’s past. If you were planning on giving to the second collection please put it in with the regular collection. Thanks for your generosity, and be assured that we give the amount that is equal and proportional to previous years offering.

This is the FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT and over the next 40 days and 40 nights we will walk together with the Lord through the desert. The Lord spent that time in the desert observing a fast and allowing His Heavenly Father to lead him along, while also facing the many temptations that Satan sent His way.

We too are sent by God, and we too face Satan’s desire to tempt us and bring illusory goods into our lives. This is a great time for us to be introspective and take measure of our lives – of where we stand with our Heavenly Father, of how we meet, or fail to meet, our call to be disciples of Christ. Do we truly walk with Christ in our personal relationships and business lives? Do we make room for our Heavenly Father to speak to our hearts, do we seek the courage of the Holy Spirit to drive out any demons in our lives? We are offered the means to free ourselves from the enslavement of sin, lets pray for each other that we do so in earnest this Lent.

Father Carmichael