Pastor’s Corner – February 11, 2018
This Wednesday is “Ash Wednesday” and marks the beginning of our annual Lenten journey. The season of Lent is a time to focus on repentance and the forgiveness of our sins as well as disclipline in our spiritual life. We amend our lives by focusing on three things: Prayer, Almsgiving and Fasting. As your pastor, it is part of my mission to provide you with the tools you need to be disposed to receive the gift of God’s Grace.
During Lent, we will have many activities to help foster a good prayer life. In its totality, prayer is simply our relationship with God. In this bulletin is an insert for your review containing the many activities we have during the Lenten Season which provide opportunities for prayer, study and fellowship. For families, some of these activities are perfect for a Lenten family activity, such as the Stations of the Cross and the Soup and Bread Dinner. Other things are more individual, such as Come, Lord Jesus! and Bible Study. It is up to you to seek to examine your life and what is the needed for increased “prayer, almsgiving and fasting” in you or your family’s life. For those of you who are new to studying scripture or group presentations, there will be a beginners group using a modified “Come, Lord Jesus! format led by myself on Thursdays during the Lenten Season and the “That Man is You” presentations are designed to also be a Lent activity.
Finally, please mark your calendar for our Lenten Parish Mission, which will be given by Fr. Bryce Sibley, S.T.L., pastor and chaplain of Our Lady of Wisdom (ULL Campus) in Lafayette. The Mission will be introduced at the weekend Masses March 3-4 and will take place March 5th, 6th, and 7th at 6pm in the church. Mass will precede the Parish Mission presentations at 5:30pm for those who may not have had an opportunity to attend Mass during the day. The theme of the mission is “Finding God: A Primer on Prayer.”
I hope that these activities help all of us grow closer to Jesus during the season of Lent so that we can celebrate the joy of Easter more deeply. Please join us for at least one of these activities during the Lenten Season.
World Day of the Sick – Anointing of the Sick
February 11, the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, is also designated the World Day of the Sick. Next weekend we will commemorate this day by celebrating the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick at the Saturday, February 17, 4pm Vigil Mass for all of those who have a serious illness or are infirmed due to age.
The Anointing of the Sick is a sacrament instituted by God in Sacred Scripture in the Book of James: “Are there any who are sick among you? Let them send for the priests of the Church, and let the priests pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick persons, and the Lord will raise them up; and if they have committed any sins, their sins will be forgiven them.” (James 5:14). The Anointing of the Sick (sometimes referred to as “Last Rites”) is given to those who begin “to be in danger (of death) due to sickness or old age.” In case of doubt about whether the circumstances warrant the sacrament, the sacrament is to be administered.
We receive many calls at St. Landry to provide this sacrament, whether it be someone preparing for a medical procedure, someone who is hospitalized, or someone who is a resident in a nursing home. The Grace of the Anointing of the Sick has brought great consolation and relief to many people in our community. The sacrament helps us to configure the suffering caused by the illness or injury to Jesus suffering on the Cross for the purpose of the salvation of the world. It also gives us consolation and helps us to understand and accept suffering because it has a saving effect, just as Jesus’ suffering saved the world. It helps us to realize that we have a role in the salvation of the world, and suffering is a part of it, so the sacrament aids us “to carry our cross” and to “offer it up” by giving us the Grace to do so.
I hope that all take advantage of this sacrament when needed. You need only call the church and I or Monsignor Melancon will be glad to administer it. As a practical matter, it is good not to wait until the last minute to request it, as there are times when both Monsignor Melancon and I are out of town or unable to do so because of other duties in our ministry. Also, please know that if there is an emergency and someone requires hospital care at Opelousas General, there is a priest on call each day for anointings. Therefore, if you are unable to reach me or Monsignor Melancon, let the hospital staff know that you would like the “on call” priest to come for an anointing, and the staff will know how to contact him.
Let us thank God for the goodness He gives to us in all the Sacraments, making sure that we dutifully dispose ourselves to receive them and fully cooperate with the Graces received in them!