A Faith Community

Second Homily

Dear Parish Family of St. Thomas of Villanova,

How is your Lent going? Is your Lenten journey happening with the presence of the Lord in your forty days? Are you praying more? Are you fasting more? Are you almsgiving more? Notice the “more”! Lent truly means less of you and more of God: You are to be a selfless person giving of yourself. Remember our Parish Lenten theme is “Living Lent With Passion.” So how Passionate will you be this week? Read what Henri Nouwen, a theologian and spiritual author, writes about Lent:

“Lent is the most important time of the year to nurture our inner life. It is the time during which we not only prepare ourselves to celebrate the mystery of the death and resurrection of Jesus, but also the death and resurrection that constantly takes place within us. Life is a continuing process of the death of the old and the familiar, and being reborn again into a new hope, a new trust, and a new love. The death and resurrection of Jesus therefore is not just an historical event that took place a long time ago, but an inner event that takes place in our heart when we are willing to be attentive to it.

Lent offers a beautiful opportunity to discover the mystery of Christ within us. It is a gentle but also demanding time. It is a time of solitude but also community, it is a time of listening to the voice within, but also a time of paying attention to other people's needs. It is a time to continuous ly make the passage to new inner life as well as to life with those around us. When we live Lent attentively and gently, then Easter can truly be a celebration during which the full proclamation of the risen Christ will reverberate into the deepest place of our being.”

We enter into our final week of preparation for our big, Annual Parish Fundraiser this Saturday, March 7th as we celebrate, honor and party with St. Joseph and St. Patrick. Our Committee has worked very hard for your pleasurable evening. And this year, we have changed the entertainment! Come for a lot of laughs as Comedian Corey Calvert will regale us with jokes, stories, banter and humor. He is a professional who has appeared at comedy clubs all over the country. By the way, I have invited Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop Blaise Cupich and Bishop George Rassas to our St. Joe’s - St. Pat’s event. I told them “if they had nothing to do that night, come and join us for a fun evening!” We will see!

The Pastor’s Prerogative for Parish Procrastinators has been invoked. You have until 8:00pm this Monday to get your paid RSVP and still pay the $40.00 rather than the $50.00 at 8:01pm and all week and at the door. Do you realize that the price for this event has not changed in ten years—and yet you still get the same, great, delicious dinner with the always raved about corned beef. So why not join us before it sells out?

We celebrated yesterday the Gift of the Holy Spirit as the Sacrament of Confirmation was conferred on 82 eighth graders from our Grade School and from our Religious Education Program. Bishop John Manz was the celebrating Bishop. I know that our eighth graders were well prepared by our teachers, catechists and parents. The Holy Spirit’s gift of wisdom and grace were already present in our young adults. Please keep them placed deeply in your Lenten prayers, so as like Jesus, they may grow in wisdom, age and grace.

Your Pastor,

Rev. Thomas R. Rzepiela

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