We have a number of important upcoming events at Holy Cross parish so please read this Update carefully and mark your calendars.
A TIME FOR NEW BEGINNINGS
Lent is a time for New Beginnings. You can make a new start in life, a new beginning in your walk with our Lord, a renewed commitment to Christ and to His Church, or a commitment to deeper conversion and more serious discipleship. Lent is indeed a blessed and holy season. All we need do is cooperate with the grace of God Who loves us and we will grow in the grace and knowledge of our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Let us make good use of the Lenten season!
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 26
This coming Sunday is Quinquagesima, the last Sunday in the three week Pre-Lenten Season. The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Unction, will be administered during the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist.
This Sunday is also our monthly Potluck Luncheon. As always, members of our church family are asked to bring a Main Dish, or a Side Dish and a Desert. Visitors are our guests and do not have to bring a thing. There is always plenty of good food and warm fellowship so please be sure to invite family and friends. The Christian Life is the Good Life at Holy Cross parish!
SHROVE TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 28
This coming Tuesday, February 28th, is Shrove Tuesday. Shrove Tuesday is the Day before Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is the first day in Lent in the Western Rite. Shrove Tuesday comes from the word Shrive meaning Confess.
Aelfric of Eynsham’s "Ecclesiastical Institutes" of about A.D. 1000 says: "In the week immediately before Lent everyone shall go to his confessor and confess his deeds and the confessor shall so shrive him as he then may hear by his deeds what he is to do."
Thanks to the good work of our St. Joseph’s Guild, this year we will observe the Shrove Tuesday tradition of the ringing of the church bells (on this day, the toll is known as the Shriving Bell) to call the faithful to confession before the solemn season of Lent. The Shriving Bell will be rung at 11:00 AM on Shrove Tuesday, and Confessions will be heard from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
Our annual Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper will be held Tuesday evening at 6:30 PM. If you volunteered to work that evening please be sure to arrive early so the food can be ready to serve at 6:30 PM. Even if you have not volunteered to help out volunteers are always welcome!
The Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper will be the last big and hearty meal before the Great Fast begins on the morning of Ash Wednesday. We will be serving pancakes, eggs, sausage and apple sauce. Pancakes are commonly eaten on this day as they symbolize the "four pillars of the Christian faith--eggs for creation, flour as the mainstay of the human diet, salt for wholesomeness and milk for purity” (Pancake Day 2015, Ross Philip, International Business Times, February 17, 2015).
This is not a fund raiser and there is no cost to come and enjoy this beautiful tradition and delicious meal. Free will offerings will be accepted and will go to support the work of our parish sisterhood - the Sisters of Holy Cross. Do be sure to invite family and friends.
ASH WEDNESDAY, MARCH 1, 6:30 PM
The Holy Season of Lent begins on Wednesday, March 1st. Ash Wednesday Services consisting of the Blessing and Imposition of Ashes, Vespers and the Litany will begin at 6:30 PM. It is very important that we begin Lent properly with prayer and by receiving ashes on the forehead as a sobering reminder of our own mortality, so please mark your calendars and rearrange your schedule so you can attend this important Service. As always, reach out to family and friends and invite them to join us for prayer on Ash Wednesday.
Confessions are heard every Sunday during the Psalms and Canticles at Matins, and as scheduled, and by appointment.
To make your confession at Matins just come forward during the singing of the Psalms or Canticles and stand before the altar between the two communion rails. The priest will come to meet you. Just open your heart to God and speak quietly. No one will hear you while the Psalms or Canticles are being chanted.
Tuesday, February 28th
The Shriving Bell will be rung on Shrove Tuesday at 11:00 AM, and Confessions will be heard from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
Wednesday, March 1st
Confessions will be heard on Ash Wednesday from 11:30 to 12:30 PM, and during the Psalms and Canticles at Vespers.
Going to Confession is not like going to Court and standing before a Judge. If it were, it would be a Court where the only result is a decree of Pardon. Going to Confession is like going to see a caring Physician. Confession unburdens the mind, heart and soul, and brings freedom, healing and peace. Confession is a wonderful Sacrament. It sets us free!
THE PROPER OBSERVANCE OF LENT
This Sunday during Holy Mass I will be handing out a paper called The Great Fast of Lent, explaining Lenten Fasting and Abstinence according to Western Rite Orthodox Observance, as well as the Spiritual Meaning of Lent. You will find this handout helpful in getting the most out of this Holy Season. May we all have a spiritually profitable and fruitful Lent, and a blessed and joyous Pascha (Easter).
Sunday Matins is at 9:15 AM, followed by the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist at 10:00 AM, with our monthly Potluck Luncheon immediately after the Liturgy.
During the Potluck Luncheon on Sunday we plan to show a 32 minute film called, From the LITTLE MOUNTAIN - Reflections on Orthodox Christian Monasticism. This beautifully made film takes us through a year at Holy Cross Monastery in West Virginia. Insights about the monastic life from one of the senior monks at the monastery are given as we are visually taken through the liturgical year and the changing seasons in the mountains of West Virginia. The imagery and principles set forth in this unique documentary will help us to make a profitable use of Lent and to grow closer to our Lord in our daily walk with him.
The Orthodox Church welcomes everyone! Holy Cross is a faithful, friendly and vibrant parish community, and we have a place for you. We love being Orthodox! Come and see why. I’ll be looking forward to seeing you on Sunday!