4/5/20 – Lenten Message
Dear Parishioners and Friends,
My brothers and sisters,
Praised be Jesus Christ!
As Roman Catholics – and other Western Christians – celebrate Palm Sunday, Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic Christians celebrate the Fifth Sunday of Lent, at which time we also commemorate St. Mary of Egypt. Today’s Gospel (Mark 10:32-45) situates everything within the paschal mystery (the Lord’s passion, death on the Cross and Resurrection) which, for the third time, the Lord predicts.
The triple prophecy of the passion in Mark’s Gospel reminds us that, like the Lord’s journey to Jerusalem, Lent is a journey for us as well. It is our pilgrimage to Easter by way of the Cross. By means of prayer, fasting and almsgiving we prepare to enter into the heart of our Lenten pilgrimage, namely, repentance, healing and enlightenment. And finally to reach the goal of inner transformation or thesis.
St. Mary of Egypt is presented to us as a model of the classical stages of the Christian spiritual journey (purgative, Illuminative and unitive) and of the Lenten pilgrimage in particular. Her story gives hope to everyone. For a significant period of her life she was addicted to her passions and lived a life of sexual promiscuity. After a dramatic conversion experience at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem she withdrew into the desert where she lived a life of prayer and penance. A model of heroic virtue (charity, humility, purity, etc.), she attained the heights of mystical contemplation before her death at an advanced age.
Through the lens of her life, and most of all through our Gospel today, we are invited to reflect upon the mysteries of grace and Redemption; “where sin abounded, grace does exceedingly abound.” (Romans 5:20).
At this critical time we are also invited to renew our belief and our hope that God loves us and never forsakes or abandons us. We are indeed pilgrims on the way to Pascha and therefore prepared to celebrate the victory of light over darkness, of holiness over evil, of love over hatred and finally, of life even over death itself!
May God bless and protect us and our loved ones.
Kontakion – St. Mary of Egypt
Having been a sinful woman, you became through repentance a Bride of Christ.
Having attained angelic life, you defeated demons with the weapon of the Cross.
Therefore, most glorious Mary, you are a Bride of the Kingdom.
3/18/20 – Directives regarding OLF
Dear Parishioners and Friends of Our Lady of Fatima Church,
Praised be Jesus Christ.
We find ourselves in the midst of an unprecedented health crisis during this year’s observance of Great and Holy Lent. In accordance with current Archdiocesan instructions, and directives from the City and County of San Francisco, all Liturgical Services at our Lady of Fatima are suspended until further notice.
This is a challenging time for all of us.
Sometimes the best Lenten discipline consists not in things we ourselves determine and control, but rather in the acceptance of difficult circumstances in our lives that we can’t control.
At this time may our trust and absolute confidence in God’s providential care help us to grow in virtue and wisdom and goodness. You are all in my daily prayers. With the Lord’s help we shall all get through this.
God’s blessings and peace to all,