Respecting Life In Lent

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As we progress through the Season of Lent, I am mindful that this time of prayer, fasting and works of mercy prepares us for Holy Week and Easter. The core mysteries of our faith are celebrated in this holy time of year. We believe as Catholics that the Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord opened heaven and that we who are in union with our Lord through faith have the hope of sharing in his Resurrection and eternal life.

“Life is Christ”, St Paul tells us. Lent moves us to a deeper gratitude to God for the gift of our lives and the hope of life forever. During Lent, when I am hearing confessions, I often instruct the penitent to take a few minutes and from the heart thank God for the gift of his or her life. It sounds obvious, but I find it true that anyone of us can overlook the essential gift that God has given each of us: life itself. When we pause and take stock of what Jesus has done for us in the Paschal Mystery, we are moved to a deeper appreciation for the gift of our lives. Take a moment and gaze upon a crucifix. Have you ever looked at a crucifix or read the Lord’s passion in the gospel and thought: “Am I worth this much to you, Lord?” The answer is “Yes”, we are worth so much to Jesus that he offered himself on the cross for the forgiveness of sins, so that we can have the hope of life eternal.

As we move toward Holy Week, I invite you to join with me and our brothers and sisters in faith in expressing our gratitude to the Lord for the gift of our lives by performing works of mercy and compassion that help other people have what they need to live. I am very pleased that later this month, we will dedicate and open the St. Anne Cradle of Hope, a place where expectant and new mothers can receive baby clothes, diapers and many of the basics needed for a new born baby. The Cradle of Hope will open in Carbondale, an area of our diocese where we can help the lives of many women and their children. Watch The Messenger for more news about the St. Anne Cradle of Hope in the next edition.

Please keep me in your prayers and know that I keep you in mine. And especially keep in your prayers Pope Francis as he marks ten years since the day the College of Cardinals elected him pope. May God bless our Holy Father and each of you.

In Christ,
Bishop Michael McGovern