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Dear St. Martin’s Parishioners,

One of the ladies who works at the local 7-Eleven convenience store happens to be Ethiopian Catholic, which is an ancient rite of the Church. I was talking to her about Lent, and I learned that they celebrate Easter one week after we do. (If you ever want to be confused, read about the controversies in Church history of calculating the date of Easter.) She also said that as Ethiopian Catholics, they fast every Wednesday and Friday, not just during Lent, but throughout the year. That really made an impression on me. As Roman Catholics, we are required to fast just twice a year, and to merely abstain from meat on Fridays.

Sadly, fasting is an undervalued and overlooked spiritual practice. By fasting from food (or technology, or any other created good), we train our appetites to desire that which is truly good for us. All too often, we seek to satisfy our cravings with whatever is most expedient. Our appetites must be constantly disciplined, formed and directed to that which is the ultimate good, Christ himself. I’m sure that on Thanksgiving we don’t eat a huge breakfast and lunch before the main meal. In that case the feast would be much less celebratory. So it is for Easter: if we don’t utilize well this period of self-denial, we don’t appreciate and celebrate properly the Easter season. Many glut themselves on spiritual junk food, and the fine cuisine seems much less appetizing. The Church as mother trains us during Lent to appreciate fully the feast of the Resurrection. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness—who desire the substantial food of God’s Word and sacrament—for the Kingdom of God is theirs.

I want to thank Sr. Mariana and Sr. Maria Belen for leading the two Women’s Retreats over the past couple Saturdays, which were a huge blessing for the 250 women who were able to attend. What a tremendous gift our Sisters are for St. Martin’s!

On Monday, March 11 and Tuesday, March 12 I encourage you to attend our Lenten Parish Mission. The Capuchin Franciscan Friars from The Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Washington, DC will help us to live Lent more fruitfully through their preaching on Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. From 6:30pm-9:00pm each evening, the Friars will preach, lead Eucharistic adoration and offer confessions to our parish.

Lastly, congratulations to all of our children who make their first confession on Saturday. May the mercy they receive through confession mark their souls and draw them deeper into the reality of Christ’s redeeming love outpoured through this sacrament.

In Christ,

Fr. Dave

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