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“24 Hours for the Lord” is a Lenten initiative organized by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization. It is to be observed on the Friday and Saturday preceding the Fourth Week of Lent, which this year is March 24-25.  The purpose of this initiative is to provide an opportunity for the faithful to encounter Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and in Eucharistic Adoration.

Please check with your local parish for further details.

Dear People of the Diocese,

 

In today’s gospel reading we heard the Lord Jesus teach his disciples that: “No one can serve two masters:” and we heard him admonish them to: “… strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, …”.  This coming Wednesday we will begin the liturgical season of Lent; traditionally, a time when we are invited to re-examine who it is we serve in our day to day life and to recommit ourselves to striving for the kingdom of God and his righteousness.

 

Prayer, fasting and almsgiving are the time tested methods for carrying out this self-examination and recommitment: Prayer being the means by which we allow God to be the master of our busy lives; Fasting being the exercise in self-discipline needed if we are to allow God to be our master; and, Almsgiving being the manifestation of our striving on our Master’s behalf to make His kingdom and His righteousness present in our world.

Ash Wednesday, which is celebrated this year on March 01, marks the beginning of the season of Lent, a season of prayer, fasting and alms-giving which prepares us to celebrate Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

While Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation, all Catholics are encouraged to participate in the Eucharist on this day in order to mark the beginning of the Lenten season.

World Day of Prayer is an international movement of Christian women of many traditions who come together to observe a common day of prayer each year, and who, in many countries, have a continuing relationship in prayer and service. World Day of Prayer, initiated and carried out by women in more than 170 countries and regions, is held internationally on the first Friday of March. In 2017 that will be March 3rd. The women of this year’s host country, the Philippines, have chosen the theme “Am I Being Unfair to You?” (Mt 20: 1-16).

Please check with your parish for further details.

Each year, during Mass on Ash Wednesday, a special collection is taken up in support of Catholic Missions In Canada. The stated mission of this group is to sustain and extend the Catholic Faith in isolated, poor and hard-to-reach areas in Canada. Many parishes in our diocese have received financial assistance from this group in the past and continue to receive funding from them. You are encouraged to be as generous as possible in supporting this special group.

The Pope's message for Lent 2017 was released to the public on Tuesday, February 7. The theme for this years’ message is:  “The Word is a gift. Other persons are a gift.”

The Roman Catholic Church celebrates World Day of the Sick annually on February 11, the commemoration of Our Lady of Lourdes. This year, for the 25th World Day of the Sick, the main Eucharistic celebration will be solemnly celebrated in Lourdes.

This day of prayer, which was instituted by Pope John Paul II in 1992, has three themes. First, it reminds the entire Church to pray for those who are sick. Second, the celebration invites all Christians to reflect on and respond to human suffering and pain. Third, this day recognizes and honours all those who work in health care and serve as caregivers.

The message of Pope Francis for this World Day is “Amazement at what God has accomplished: ‘The Almighty has done great things for me’ ” (Lk 1:49).

You are invited to join with the rest of the Church in praying for those who are sick and for those health care professionals and caregivers who minster to them.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has circulated a petition “Will you stand with refugees?” which calls on all governments to work together and do their fair share for refugees. The petition will be delivered to UN headquarters in New York before the UN General Assembly high-level summit to address large movements of refugees and migrants, scheduled for September 19. This petition, which is only available on-line,  may be signed at http://www.unhcr.org/refugeeday/petition/

Following the 29 January 2017shootings at the mosque in Quebec City, the Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), issued a statement expressing condolences and prayers on behalf of his brother Bishops as well as Catholics across Canada. A number of other Catholic leaders, as well as those from other religious traditions, also issued statements conveying their prayers and solidarity with the Muslim community, people living in Quebec City, and the rest of the country. Those issuing statements included Pope Francis. Vigil services, public gatherings and Eucharistic celebrations are also being organized.

To read the Pope's statement and those of the other Catholic leaders and from other religious traditions visit CCCB.ca

On February 2nd the Church will celebrate World Day for Consecrated Life. This is an opportunity to remember with gratitude the men and women who have chosen to live out their baptismal vocation by professing the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience by joining a religious congregation, a secular institute or through private vows. We thank those consecrated men and women in our diocese who dedicate their lives to God’s service, we pray for God’s continued blessing upon them and we pray that many others will hear and respond to the call to Consecrated Life.

In honour and celebration of Consecrated Life, Bishop Hundt will preside at the daily Mass at 9:30 am at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Redeemer and the Immaculate Conception on Thursday, February 2. All are welcome to come and join in this celebratory Mass.

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