Looking Ahead to Ash Wednesday and Lent

01-29-2021Letters From Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary Parish,

Despite the cold and snow last week, we can tell that winter is moving on as the light at the end of the day is lengthening. We need simply to put one foot forward at a time, and soon we will be well through February, which begins this Sunday. It is rather stunning to think that the Christmas Season is now far back in the rearview mirror and that Ash Wednesday and Lent 2021 will soon be upon us. The pandemic, the long process of vaccinations, the recent civil disturbance in Washington DC, and the new federal leadership for our country all contribute significantly to our confusion, uncertainly, and burden of living each day. Parents and students, workers and homebound, elderly and young, everyone’s lives are still challenging beyond the usual pressures and strains of life. We are blessed that we have our faith to focus us, direct us, keep us strong, and let us continue our daily life with hope and peace of mind and heart.

Shortly, Ash Wednesday launches the beginning of Lent. I would recommend a spiritual Lenten practice that you sign up for, “Best Lent Ever,” which Dynamic Catholic offers. Each day you receive an email that has a spiritual message for you to reflect upon. This spiritual exercise will help you grow deeper in faith during this season of Lent and make it the “best ever Lent” for you. Just go to their website, dynamiccatholic.com, to sign up. We will have Mass with the Distribution of Ashes on Ash Wednesday, February 17 at 7:00am and 7:00pm (registration required via our website). Ashes will also be distributed without ceremony outside at the side of the Church (Main Street) at the Rocco Plaza from Noon until 12:45 PM. No registration is required because it is walk-up only. If you would like to receive ashes for use at home for your family or a loved one, please email Karen Ackles, our Director of Religious Education (reled.director@stmarysfranklin.org). She is taking “orders” for them. There are special pick up times at the Religious Education Office at the former school building. They will only be available there and must be “ordered” so that she may have enough prepared blessed ashes for you. There will be weekday Mass Monday through Friday at 7:00am in the chapel. You can sign in when you arrive, and you must “mist” your area before you leave. If everyone cooperates during this time, we will continue morning Mass, Monday through Friday after Easter. The Sacrament of Penance (Confession) will be offered on Saturdays (March 13, 20, 27 & April 3) from 8:00-9:00am in the Reconciliation Room found at the Main Street side of the chapel at its back. On Tuesday evenings, Deacon Stephen May, our Pastoral Associate, will be offering an excellent, spiritually enriching Lenten program. See our website for details, etc.

The Franklin Interfaith Council is helping to sponsor a program called “Envoy,” which will help support the Franklin Food Pantry, which partners at various times with our Saint Vincent de Paul, to provide food to those in need. Multiple restaurants in Franklin are pledging a portion of their business if you “eat out or take out,” which will “help out” those in need. See our parish website for which restaurants and which nights this applies.

In this time of the Pandemic and Civil Unrest, blessings always appear, and we should recognize them. I am grateful for your constant support to our Saint Vincent’s in their work with the needy and hungry and for your Parish’s faithful financial support. Your online giving (found at stmaryfranklin.org), your mail in and drop off contributions help us continue our holy work. Thank you. We will soon be launching via mail or online the Archdiocesan Appeal (aka the Cardinal’s Appeal). I will be asking for your committed help to support the more considerable work of the Church Archdiocese. I am also most grateful that we are now able to live-stream weekend Masses (Saturday 4:00pm & Sunday 10:30am and 12:00pm) along with funeral Masses (accessed via our website and then click on “LIVE-STREAM MASSES”).

Our Blessed Mother Mary, our Parish Patroness, intercedes at the throne of heaven for all of us. Saint Rocco is our intercessor for healing. We are twice blessed to have two such powerful intercessors in our lives.

God bless,
Father Brian