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PLEASE PRAY FOR: Lorraine Penhos, Tony Perry, Ford Bartle, Kim Anglin, Grover McKnight, Lydia Ghirardi, Evelyn Tew and Elizabeth Frola.
   





Fr. Tom Whitman
St. Joseph Pastor







  From the Pastor's Desk
7th Sunday in Ordinary Time

ASH WEDNESDAY
Ash Wednesday Masses will be at 12:10 and 7:00pm. There will also be a 7:00am prayer service (not a Mass) on Ash Wednesday. This will consist of a prayer, scripture reading, brief homily, and the distribution of ashes. We hope that those who wish to start their day with prayer and ashes can do so and make it to work. This service will conclude as you receive ashes and you can be on your way to work before 7:30am. Ash Wednesday is February 26.

PARISH LENTEN RETREAT
The liturgy committee has encouraged me to offer special bulletin inserts during the seasons of Advent and Lent. I hope they are helpful to you. For this Lenten season I am offering something different. I have put together a “retreat” that everyone can participate in at your own pace and in your own place. Usually retreats demand that we go to some retreat house and leave our normal life behind for a few days, a week, or even a whole month. But most of us don’t have that luxury. So, I thought I would bring the retreat to you.

The bulletin insert today explains the retreat and offers three forms of prayer that you might use to pray with the Scripture passages for each week. Each Sunday during Lent I will focus my homily on a particular theme or a story from the Gospel. There will be an insert in the bulletin that will elaborate on that theme or story. There will also be a series of Scripture readings each week that you might use to reflect further on that theme or story. The unique thing about this retreat is that you don’t have to do all of it. Maybe you only have time to read the insert in the bulletin, or maybe you only have time to reflect on one of the Scripture passages, or maybe you can read the insert and read all the Scripture passages. No one is keeping score! You don’t even have to use the prayer forms that I have outlined. You might simply read the Scripture passage once or twice and just reflect on it throughout the day as it connects to your life. Use the retreat in any way that proves to be helpful to you. If you miss a week or lose the insert from today, the whole retreat is online on our parish website.

SHARON HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS
Students wishing to attend the 12:10pm Ash Wednesday Mass can be released from school. Students need to bring a letter of permission from a parent/guardian to the school office on Monday or Tuesday (February 24 or 25, 2020) giving them permission to be released for 12:10pm Mass and then return to school.

CATHOLIC SERVICES APPEAL
Today is Commitment Sunday for this year’s Catholic Services Appeal. You can place your pledge envelope in the regular collection basket. Pledge envelopes are at the end of the pews. Our parish assessment to the Diocese this year is $65,000.

Our Parish project for this year and next year will be to complete the restoration process on the stained -glass windows. This project was begun eight years ago when 41 windows were restored that were in the worst condition. Presently, 50 windows have been removed and are in the process of restoration. Those windows will return in the Spring of 2020 and the remaining 55 windows will be removed for restoration and will return by the end of 2020. The total cost of these final two phases is $185,000. We are using some of our savings to pay this cost upfront. We hope that in the next two years we might be able to recoup that expense with the monies we collect over and above our Catholic Services Appeal Assessment. We are setting our goal this year for $130,000. $65,000 for our parish assessment and $65,000 to go toward the restoration of the windows.

PARISH MARDI GRAS DINNER
will be Monday, February 24, with dinner at 6:00pm. Doors open at 5:30pm. Each year we honor people who have given generous service to our parish. All are welcome to attend. Sign up Sheets are at all the exits for the next three weeks. The parish provides the meat entrée and the dessert. Families and individuals are asked to bring salad, potato dish, pasta dish, or vegetable according to the first letter in their last name.


REFLECTION ON THE READINGS
The readings today continue this challenge of the Sermon on the Mount to be more than what the law requires. The readings today invite us to be holy as God is holy.

The first reading sets the tone for the day with Moses telling the people, “Be Holy, for I the Lord your God am Holy.” This section of the book of Leviticus is often called the “Holiness Code,” as it sets out a series of laws and rules that spell out how we can be holy. The section we hear today tells us to not bear hatred toward our brothers and sisters, to take no revenge or hold no grudge, and to love your neighbor as yourself. This was a small close-knit community and these laws were meant to preserve that unity and peace for the sake of the whole community. There was a very real sense of how we are a community and how important it is to preserve that community. It is very different than our sense of individualism, where everyone is out to get whatever they can for themselves.

In the second reading Paul uses the image of the temple to describe the unity of the people. Paul says that each of us is a temple of God and that the spirit of God dwells within us. This temple is holy and because it is holy, we should not do any harm to our temple or the temple of those in the community. Paul fosters a sense of profound respect for each person that keeps us from harming one another. This profound respect for each person will lead to a firmly united community.

In the Gospel Jesus continues to move us beyond the law and stretch our understanding of how we should treat one another. Jesus challenges us to be non-violent even when others strike us first. We should turn the other cheek. In our relationships to others we should repay our debts quickly and fully, and in our service to others we should do more than what is asked of us. And finally, if that is not enough, Jesus says we should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. I suspect Jesus is challenging us to love and pray for them in order that we might find ways to identify what is out of sync in our relationship with them and find ways to heal it. Violence only breeds more violence and is never the solution to our problems.




   

Mass Schedule

Weekday and Holy Day schedules can be found in the bulletin.

Saturday: 5:15 pm (Vigil)

Sunday: 8:30 am and 11:00 am

Sacraments

Baptism: Baptisms are scheduled by appointment. Class is required for first time parents. Please call the church office to schedule your class. No baptisms during Lent and Advent.

Reconciliation: Saturday afternoons, 4:00-4:30 pm. Confessions at other times by appointment.

Matrimony: By appointment six months in advance.

Sacrament of Holy Orders: Some men fulfill God's call to holiness by serving as priests or permanent deacons. Men, high school age or older, who feel God may be calling them to pursue the Sacrament of Holy Orders should contact our parish priest.

Programs

Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA): Please call the rectory office.

Prayer Line: For intentions, please call 724-981-3232.

Religious Education Program: CCD Grades K-11, at Case Avenue Elementary, Sundays 9:30 am -10:45 am (during the school year).

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