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PLEASE PRAY FOR: Ed Thomas, Bill Lasche, Lorraine Penhos, Lillian Fabrey, Grover McKnight, Ed Benedict, Donna Fraley, Tess McCallen and Toni Ryan.
   







Fr. Tom Whitman
St. Joseph Pastor






  From the Pastor's Desk
6th Sunday of Ordinary Time 

ASH WEDNESDAY CHANGE
The liturgy committee evaluates what we do for each season of the year. In our discussion about Ash Wednesday we decided to continue the Ash Wednesday Masses at 12:10 and 7:00pm. The early morning Mass was not well attended for various reasons. This year we are planning to have 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 March 6.

FIRST FRIDAY CALLS
I am often surprised by the number of people who do not know about this service that our parish provides. On the First Friday of every month it has been tradition in most parishes to take communion to those who are shut-in to their homes. Who might be a shut-in? Those people who are physically unable to come to church on Sunday, those who are home recovering from an illness, those who are on hospice, or for some serious reason are not able to come to church on Sunday would be considered shut-ins. In addition to bringing communion to those on our First Friday List, I will give the Anointing of the Sick to those whom I visit. Some months one of our Eucharistic Ministers will bring communion and other months I will bring communion and give the Anointing of the Sick. Currently we are visiting over 30 people on First Friday. This is also a way for people to be anointed so that if something should happen they have already been anointed. Please call the parish office for more information and to sign up.

CATHOLIC SERVICES APPEAL
Commitment Sunday for this year’s Catholic Services Appeal will be March 2 and 3. Pledge envelopes will be in the bulletin the weekend of February 23 and 24. Our parish goal this year is $66,000.

PARISH MARDI GRAS
Our parish Mardi Gras celebration will be Monday, March 4, beginning with dinner at 6:00. Sign up sheets are at all the entrances today.

REFLECTION ON THE READINGS
Our readings this week remind us of how often we think of this world and heaven being two very different places. Luke reminds us this week of the very real connection between those two worlds.

In the first reading, Jeremiah divides the world into those who trust in the things of the world and those who trust in God. He says that those who trust in the things of this world are really barren, lifeless. But those who trust in God will come to find a fullness of life that lasts forever.

In the second reading Paul points out that resurrection is real. If it is not, Jesus has not risen from the dead. Our faith pivots around this incredible reality. If there is no resurrection, Paul says, then we are still in sin.

In the Gospel, Luke gives us his version of the beatitudes which are quite different from the ones we find in Matthew’s Gospel (Matthew 5:1-12). Luke’s beatitudes are spoken on the level plain, while Matthew’s are spoken on the mountain. Luke’s beatitudes are rooted in real response to human need, and Matthew’s are more spiritual or heavenly.

Luke’s beatitudes are a challenge to meet the needs of people who are poor, hungry, weeping, hated, excluded and insulted. Luke challenges us to reach out to these people in the here and now, on this earthly planet, in our lives today. These beatitudes become the heart of the church’s teaching that we should have a preferential option for the poor as Jesus did. What does that term mean? Does it mean that the poor are the only people Jesus cares about? That being rich means we cannot be saved? Those are often the misinterpretations of this teaching.

Gustavo Gutierrez, a liberation theologian says, “God has a preferential love for the poor not because they are necessarily better than others, morally or religiously, but simply because they are living in an inhuman situation that is contrary to God’s will. The ultimate basis for the privileged position of the poor is not in the poor themselves but in God, in the graciousness and universality of God’s agapeic love (the unconditional love God has for us).” Gutierrez sees this preferential option for the poor as God’s relentless care for those who are experiencing injustice in any form. God sees people suffering unjustly and extends his loving hand to them.

In the U.S. Bishops Pastoral Letter, “Economic Justice for All,” they state it this way, “Decisions for the poor must be judged in the light of what they do for the poor, what they do to the poor, and what they enable the poor to do for themselves.” Our option for the poor is to be preferential not exclusive, respectful not denigrating, enabling not patronizing.

I think of the ways in which we do this as a parish – our support for and work in our parish food pantry, our support for and work at the Prince of Peace Center, our funeral dinners, All Souls Service, and the ways in which people reach out to those who have lost loved ones, our Eucharistic ministers who take communion to the sick, to those in nursing homes, and those shut in to their homes, and our support and participation in the West Hill After School program here at St. Joseph. In all these ways, and in so many more, we are trying to live out this preferential option for the poor.



   

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 724-342-3456.

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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