DEAR FATHER | Giving up meat during Lent is a sign of solidarity with one another

Before looking at why we abstain from meat as a common penance, we should examine why we even do penance in the first place.

BEFORE THE CROSS | Chrism Mass is a great Catholic tradition

Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Rice celebrated a memorial Mass in honor of the four Missionaries of Charity murdered March 4 in Yemen. The Mass at Sts. Teresa and Bridget, the parish served by the local Missionaries of Charity in St. Louis, was one of three memorial Masses celebrated March 14 in St. Louis.

Anointing, in Biblical and other ancient symbolism, is rich in meaning: Oil is a sign of abundance and joy; it cleanses (anointing before and after a bath) and limbers (the anointing of athletes and wrestlers); oil is a sign of healing, since it is soothing to bruises and wounds; and it makes radiant with beauty, health, and strength. Anointing with oil has all these meanings in the sacramental life (CCC 1293-4).

Most people know about the big celebrations of Holy Week — Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil, Easter Mass.

I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | Walk with Jesus this Holy Week

Bishop Robert J. Hermann

On Palm Sunday, we journey with Jesus through the final week of His earthly life. As He travels to Jerusalem on a donkey, the people were spreading their cloaks on the road, "praising God aloud with joy for all the mighty deeds they had seen. They proclaimed, 'Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.'" This echoes the angels in Bethlehem who proclaimed His birth. The rest of the Palm Sunday readings tell a different story.

BEFORE THE CROSS | Reflections on our rejections of God’s plan

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson and priests reacted to a joke from Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York and native St. Louisan. Cardinal Dolan spoke on “American Catholicism, American Politics Reconsidered” as part of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics lecture series March 2 at Graham Chapel on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis. See story, page 10

The readings this week feature a series from the Gospel of John. Jesus performs His second and third signs, healing a child and healing a lame man at the pool of Bethesda. Paradoxically, the tension surrounding His ministry grows.

It would be easy to watch this tension externally, saying: "Look at how those people are growing in their opposition to Jesus. Too bad for them!" A better path for our reflections is an internal approach, asking: "Where have I resisted Jesus, and where do I still resist Him?"

Archdiocese to host Lenten day of recollection, Year of Mercy Reconciliation Initiative

The Lenten season is a time for repentance, conversion, and reconciliation. The parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Louis are joining together to offer numerous opportunities for the faithful to partake in the Sacrament of Reconciliation on the Year of Mercy Reconciliation Initiative to be held March 4-5 . Visit www.archstl.org/confession for more information and a schedule. 

I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | God longs for us to acknowledge our sins, be open to His mercy

Bishop Robert J. Hermann

The readings for the Fourth Sunday of Lent celebrate God removing the oppression of sin from the hearts of His people.

In the first reading, the Lord tells Joshua, "Today I have removed the reproach of Egypt from you." At this time, the Israelites were no longer oppressed slaves. They could worship God freely and openly and enjoyed the dignity of raising their own food. It was a new start in a new land with new freedoms — free of the yoke of slavery.

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