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This “Laetare Sunday” bids us “rejoice!” with the first words of today’s Entrance Antiphon (substituted in our weekend Masses by the opening song): “Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her. Be joyful, all who were in mourning; exult and be satisfied at her consoling breast.” (Isaiah 66:10-11). Our rose-colored vestments, much like in Advent for Gaudete Sunday, symbolize our growing expectation and joyful hope that the Lord is near. It keeps our eyes forward to why we are enduring the penances and more intense prayer of this season. It is important to always keep the end in mind. Why do we fast, pray, and give alms? To cleanse our hearts and focus our minds on the mystery of the Sacred Triduum — the three days of Our Lord’s Passion, Death and Resurrection. May this joyful day help you to persevere in your Lenten journey toward God.

Next weekend we will have a guest priest, Fr. Richard McAlear, visiting with us in preparation for our special Mass for healing on the evening of Monday, the 19th (also the Solemnity of Saint Joseph). Please also consider attending his lecture Sunday, the 18th, at 6:00 p.m. in the Church, which will offer insight into the truth that Jesus desires to bring healing to us all. “Father Mack” has been an apostle of God’s healing, traveling to offer such healing prayer ceremonies around the world.

We should recall that physical healing and spiritual healing are often interconnected. As Jesus comes to heal our souls, the Gospels show that healing our bodies was an important part of his work on earth. That work continues today through the Sacraments and through intercessory prayer. This is why we have a Healing Prayer ministry in the parish, and I am grateful to them for organizing this effort over the past months behind the scenes and now very assiduously in these last days. We still need more helpers for the evening, as we prepare for an overflowing church full of people looking to receive God’s Mercy in healing both physical and spiritual. This event has drawn attention to a very wide audience. I heard that someone from Hawaii is even planning to attend!

If you are willing to help with this event in any of the roles needed, please call the office or reach out to the parish coordinators, Bill and Cathy Odell (273-1702). And please pray, even now, for the many hearts and souls who will encounter the love of Christ through these events.

We also have Saint Patrick’s day on Saturday, and so as man of Irish heritage, I wish you all a blessed day. I hope to have a little Irish fun on that day, going out for a good lunch (if I can squeeze into an Irish pub!). Thankfully, this year it doesn’t fall on a Friday — we can enjoy our corned beef without any guilt.

Saint Thérèse, Little Flower, pray for us!