February days bring us into springtime in the world of nature and on February 14th into the world of love, Valentine’s Day and the Lenten world of grace. Both bring times of new life – life in the world of nature and the life of the world in supernature.
Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day this year will introduce us into our annual springtime training during the Lenten season when the exercises of prayer, fasting and almsgiving (PFA) renew us in the three pillars of the Christian life. We are called to give more deliberate attention to them during the 40-day period of Lent. They bring us a deepening springtime in God’s love and presence…springtime in heart and in the spirit.
IS THE CALENDAR MIXED UP?
Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday on the same day! Seems though we should not be celebrating and enjoying “heart” day and begin the season of Lent on the same day. However, perhaps it is a great blend and mixture. What better way to begin Lent than to reflect on how we are called to change our heart? What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than to reflect on how we are called to become more loving?
Lent’s basic message is to be open and be ready to change so that God’s love may increase in us. Lent isn’t just a time to remember that we are dust. Rather, we are to remember that God’s spirit of love was breathed into us when we were merely dust. That dust was then formed into a living person, capable of loving God and all creation. Lent is a point of turning or returning to our God, a season when our hearts can expand as God fills them with love.
BISHOP EDWARD WEISENBURGER’S NEW YEAR GREETINGS:
We are at the beginning of a new year. I must admit that I am moved by the year-end message of Pope Francis. He remarked that 2017 had been marred by war, lies and injustice. In his characteristically direct and prophetic manner, he urged people everywhere to take responsibility for their actions. While I find the Holy Father’s assessment accurate and sober, I also find that it comes from a man whose life is a constant witness to boundless joy. Indeed, I believe it is that joy that has endeared him to most all the world. I suspect his words have great power as they flow from one who lives as he preaches, spending his days as a prophetic witness to peace, mercy, service of the poor and reconciliation among all peoples. Pope Francis is indeed a man who sees the world’s sufferings, but his witness is to the light of Christ — a light burning brightly which no darkness can ever overwhelm.
For those reading these humble words, I kindly invite you to join with me in looking honestly at our world and looking honestly within ourselves. Take an honest look at the sufferings of Christ as they are found in so many in our world today even as you take stock of the undeserved blessings of your own life. Consider the year behind us and join with me in answering Pope Francis’ call for the year ahead — accepting responsibility for our world, perhaps most especially by working to be part of someone else’s blessings in 2018.
SCHOOL STUDENT BODY ADORATION AND BENEDICTION:
Recently I celebrated a holy hour of adoration and benediction with the entire student body from our school. There was a very prayerful participation on the part of all the students during the prayer time. Following are some (direct) quotes from the third-graders’ reflections on their experience. They are simple, profound and precious.
The comments and observations of our third-graders on the exposition experience can be an invitation to all of us to visit the Cenacle Chapel during the exposition days. It’s a wonderful way to joyfully encounter Jesus Christ as the source and summit of the Christian life and His companionship in the living bread from heaven during exposition times.
MONTHLY HOLY HOUR OF PRAYER:
The parish will be offering a monthly Holy Hour of Prayer on the first Friday of each month beginning on February 2nd from 6:30pm to 7:30pm in the church. Parishioners who are actively involved in ministry in the parish are especially invited and encouraged to participate. The monthly Holy Hour offers an opportunity for parishioners to come together in community of prayer in the presence of the exposed Sacrament. It will keep us prayerfully connected again and again with the source of all ministry. Without it, we may just be doing our own thing. The longer I remain in the ministry, the more I realize that it is the Lord who ministers to us and through us. When we continue to come back to the source, the Lord will bless us all abundantly.
KNOW YOUR STAFF - Madeleine Crespo, Executive Assistant to the Pastor:
I initially joined Our Mother of Sorrows as a 7th and 8th grade science and religion teacher. I answered the call to serve the wider parish community and joined the parish staff in 2015 as Executive Assistant to Msgr. Tom, a position which is both an honor and a joy. In addition to administrative duties, I am a Eucharistic Minister and also coordinate the parish schedule for the OMOS food service ministry benefiting Sr. Jose Women’s Center. My husband and I also serve as a sponsor couple in the Couple to Couple diocesan marriage preparation program.
Our Mother of Sorrows Parish and School is a unique faith-filled community of very special people who encounter Christ every day in the faces of those we serve. It is a great blessing and a privilege to serve the Church in the capacity that I do.
TEACH US TO PRAY - WAITING AND PRAYING BY FR. JAMES MARTIN, SJ:
The feast of the Presentation of Our Lord (sometimes called Candlemas because of the tradition of blessing candles on that day) commemorates the “presentation” of Jesus in the Temple in Jerusalem, not long after his birth. “When the days were completed for their purification,” Joseph and Mary brought their firstborn son for the ritual dedication to God, as required by the Jewish law. And so, as presented in the Gospel of Luke, the Presentation is a story about faithfulness.
But not the faithfulness of just Mary and Joseph. It is about also the patient fidelity of two other people in the story: Simeon and Anna. Both are usually depicted as elderly, but only Anna is described that way by Luke. Both, however, are faithful. Simeon has been promised that he will see the Messiah before his death, and so he waits patiently. When he encounters Jesus, he takes the child in his arms and praises God. Anna prays constantly in the Temple, and when she sees Jesus she rejoices.
Simeon waits and Anna prays. What wonderful models of faithfulness for all of us. In our prayer this month, we might imagine Simeon asking us, “What is worth waiting for?” And we might hear Anna asking us, “What is worth praying for?”
For me, the most beautiful part of this story is that while both Simeon and Anna understood that the Messiah had come, they didn’t know what, precisely, that would mean. As it is with us: sometimes God answers our prayers in ways that may remain mysterious for many years. So, then, there may be more waiting and praying.
James Martin is a Jesuit priest and the author of many books, including Jesus: A Pilgrimage, and In All Seasons, for All Reasons, a collection of essays from Give Us This Day.
ANNUAL VALENTINE’S DINNER & DANCE:
This annual event is scheduled to take place in the Parish Hall after the 5:30pm Mass on Saturday, February 10th. The theme is “Great Gatsby/The Roaring 20s”. Tickets are $50 per couple and are available for sale at the school and parish office. Free childcare is provided by our LifeTeen group for children who are potty-trained through 6th grade.
Married couples will have the opportunity to renew their marriage vows at all Masses on the weekend of February 10-11. Couples coming to the annual dinner and dance are encouraged to participate in the 5:30pm Mass on February 10th and renew their marriage vows during the Mass itself. The annual dinner and dance is very well received and is a blessing opportunity for couples to have time out to celebrate and renew God’s presence in their friendship and in their call to be together in marriage.
As your pastor, I very much encourage married couples to give yourself this gift. You deserve it, you’ve earned it, and you’ll relish it.
Beginning in February, Catholic Extension will broadcast weekly Sunday Masses for the homebound on KOLD, Channel 13. Catholic Extension selected the Tucson area to launch this new and exciting initiative, a partnership with the Diocese of Tucson and Tucson's local CBS affiliate, KOLD. Broadcast decisions were made by the Extension Society. The Sunday Masses will air both at 6am and 9:30am.
WALKING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF JESUS - JUNE 14-23, 2018
A 10-Day Pilgrimage Retreat to the Holy Land: A pilgrimage is a spiritual journey made to a certain sacred place as an act of religious devotion with the aim of growing in one’s relationship with God. It is time set aside to be with God: to listen and talk with Him. The Holy Land of Israel is the main setting of Gospel events in the life of Jesus. Undertaking a pilgrimage to the Holy Land also helps Christians to connect to the historical sites of the events in the life of Jesus and our Christian faith. In the year of our 60th Parish Jubilee, we hope to renew our commitment to continue “walking in the footsteps of Jesus.”
Planning is underway for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land for parishioners, their family and friends. This 10-day retreat experience will be led by Fr. Richard and would include prayer at the Church of the Nativity, The Valley of Cana, The Sea of Galilee, Mount Tabor, The River Jordan, Jerusalem and the Dead Sea.
The complete itinerary of this pilgrimage costs $3,300 per person and includes round-trip air fare from Phoenix, accommodation in first class hotels, breakfast and dinner, all land transportation, expert and professional guides, and daily Masses, spiritual exercises and reflections. Space is limited to 40 persons. Interested parishioners are invited to a brief informational meeting with tour personnel on Tuesday, February 6th at 6:30pm in the church. Deadline for registration is March 1st. For additional information, please contact Fr. Richard at the parish office or visit www.nativitypilgrimage.com.
THANK YOU TO OUR GENEROUS EPIPHANY PARTY SPONSORS:
Our exceptional sponsors again this year included Watson Refrigeration, Bring’s Broadway Chapel, Tucson Catholic Cemeteries, and the OMOS Parish Endowment Trust. We are deeply grateful for your generosity and support of our parish family and for the ministry you provide to those you serve in our community.
ANNUAL WINTER VISITORS RETREAT, MASS AND LUNCHEON:
Welcome back, Winter Visitors! Please join us for this special annual gathering on Tuesday, February 13th. We’ll begin at 9:30am for a time of reflection. Mass begins at 11am, followed by a luncheon in your honor. RSVP by February 9th with the parish office at 747-1321. This luncheon is for all winter visitors… if this your first winter with us or your fifteenth, we’d like to welcome all of you.
RRRJC CAMPAIGN & PROJECTS STATUS UPDATE:
Wow! God is on the move. Thanks to all those in the parish and school communities who have made sacrificial pledges to the Remember, Renew and Rediscover Jesus Christ Capital Campaign and faithfully continue to fulfill them. As of 1/15/18 we have received pledges amounting to $1,043,523 and received $431,343 in pledge fulfillment – over 41%! Together with our Building & Maintenance Commission, Campaign Master Planning Committee, and staff, the church remodeling projects are coming together.
We are very excited about all the work to be done in the church this summer. The first Masses celebrated in the hall will be on May 19th, back in the first church of the parish.
Then, the church projects begin as we replace the pews, carpet and tile, remodel both bathrooms, build shrine niches by the altar space and the back of the church, and install glass doors by the main entrance vestibule. Our 60th Jubilee Anniversary Mass will be celebrated September 16th with a special 1:00pm Mass instead of the regularly scheduled Mass at 12:30.
Stand by for more updates to come. Together we are the family of Our Mother of Sorrows and together we are making a difference for today and for tomorrow for the glory of God and to be a blessing for His people.
Steve Contreras, Parish Business Manager
ANNUAL CATHOLIC APPEAL:
Bishop Edward Weisenburger will introduce the Diocesan Annual Appeal through a DVD presentation at all Masses next weekend 2/3-4. Our parish goal is $163,340. Thanks to all who participated and helped us achieve 92% of our goal last year. The spirit of generosity alive in our parish will help us to reach this year’s increased goal, which challenges us to a greater generosity of spirit.
MATCHING GIFT PROGRAM... DID YOU KNOW?
Many employers sponsor matching gift programs and will match any parishioner charitable contributions made by their employees. To find out if your company has a matching gift policy, contact your Human Resource representative or enter your employer's name on the following website link: www.matchinggifts.com/acs. If your company offers such a program, simply request and complete a matching gift form from your employer. Some companies even match gifts made by retirees and/or spouses. The impact of your gift to Our Mother of Sorrows Parish/School may be doubled or possibly tripled!
Pray. Fast. Give.
February Dates to Remember:
Valentine’s Dinner & Dance 2/10/18
6:30pm in the Parish Hall
Winter Visitors Mass & Luncheon 2/13/18
9:30am (Reflection), 11am (Mass), 11:45am (Luncheon)
Ash Wednesday Mass Schedule 2/14/18
6:30am, 8:30am, 10am (School Mass), 3:30pm, 6pm,
7:30pm English in Parish Hall
7:30pm Spanish Mass in Church