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Entering Lent with ‘great hope’

By Bishop Terry R. LaValley

March 2, 2022

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
In his Lenten Message this year, the Holy Father writes: “We need to pray because we need God. Thinking that we need nothing other than ourselves is a dangerous illusion…no one attains salvation alone…we are all in the same boat, amid the storms of history.” There can be no serious doubt in anyone’s mind, we are now living in one such storm and it’s been a whopper!

Let us all examine our prayer life as we enter Lent 2022. Prayer is our lifeline with Jesus. Daily, disciplined prayer fuels our faith and sustains our hope for tomorrow. Pope Francis tells us that “faith does not spare us life’s burdens and tribulations, but it does allow us to face them in union with God in Christ, with the great hope that does not disappoint.”

This “great hope” to which the Pope refers is rooted in Jesus’ sacrificial love. St. Mother Teresa wrote that the Eucharist is intimately related to the Passion. She stated, “If Jesus had not established the Eucharist, we would have forgotten the crucifixion. It would have faded into the past and we would have forgotten the depth and breadth of Jesus’ love for each one of us. To make sure we do not forget, Jesus gave us the Eucharist as a memorial of His love.”

The premier prayer of the Church is the Eucharist. It is the identifying feature of Catholicism. Our parishes, our faith families, are schools of prayer that are centered around the Mass. As you know, we have begun an initiative, a Eucharistic Revival, to help us rediscover the beauty of the Eucharist and strengthen our belief in the Real Presence of Christ at Mass.

For many months (now years), the pandemic has adversely affected our Eucharistic worship. In many circumstances, our participation at Mass has waned. We risk “forgetting” the significance of the Eucharist. Please continue to encourage your family members to return to the Eucharist to be nourished with the sacramental food for the journey. Avail yourself of the opportunities your parish provides you to participate in our Eucharistic Revival efforts and special Lenten programs and devotions that will enhance our discipleship outside the walls of our churches.

Let us seek the intercession of Mary, Our Lady of Hope and Mother of the Eucharist, in our Lenten efforts to draw closer to Jesus and His Body, the Church. God’s blessings and prayers for a fruitful Lent for you and your loved ones!

Faithfully yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Terry R. LaValley
Bishop of Ogdensburg

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