Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord, your God.
In these words from the Prophet Joel, which were proclaimed at Mass on Ash Wednesday, we hear the depth of God’s mercy and love. Even though God’s favorite people have wandered so far away from Him in their sinfulness, through the Prophet Joel, God is giving them another chance to come back.
Through the 40-day journey of Lent, we come face-to-face with the reality of sin in our own lives. We recognize that we aren’t always the people God has created us to be. In this holy season the Church offers us the disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving that help to let go of the darkness and filth of sin, so that we may embrace and share the Light of Christ that comes to us in the Easter Sacraments.
I encourage you to take advantage of the many opportunities that our parish is offering in Lent to pray, to fast, and to give alms. Most especially, I encourage everyone to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance before Easter. Through this powerful Sacrament, we receive the “spiritual medicine” of grace that heals and strengthens us.
May God bless our parish as we begin our journey through these sacred days of Lent.
School Admin Prayer
Heavenly Father, we give you thanks for the blessing of St. Stephen the Martyr Catholic School. Fill our community with Your Spirit and grant us the wisdom to truly seek your will in discerning the best leadership for our school.
Open the hearts of those seeking the position, that they may have the grace to trust in your plan for their lives. Infuse their hearts with a passion for educating the little souls under their care, that our school may become fertile ground for raising the joyful, committed Catholics of the future.
Grant us the wisdom to submit to the plans you have for our school so that all who enter its doors may encounter your love.
We ask this through the intercession of Mary, Mother of God. Amen.
It takes a community to support a school. The School Advisory Board’s Mission & Catholic Identity Committee invites you to participate in the Ignite40 Lenten prayer campaign, a prayer rally for St. Stephen the Martyr Catholic School.
The entire community – parents, students, faculty, staff and parishioners – are invited to sign up for one day of prayer and sacrifice for the school during Lent. Whether it’s fasting from screen time or praying a family rosary, your prayers and sacrifices will help our school become the dynamic community God wants us to be.
During the first all-school Mass following Lent, students will present 40 flowers on the altar to signify the grace-filled prayers our community has offered to ignite the joy of faith, community and learning at St. Stephen the Martyr Catholic School.
Sign up here. (http://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e054fafac29a31-united)
Mid-Year Financial Update
Our financial situation has improved for two reasons. First, due to suspending the additional loan payments we were using to pay down our loan. Second, cash flow has improved primarily due to an increased level of annual contributions from November through January. These are greatly appreciated, and we will be tracking our monthly contributions to help gauge how this will impact our revenues moving forward in calendar year 2018.
We have completed six of the seven listening sessions so far. This is a friendly reminder that the Pastoral Council will be hosting one more Listening Session yet this month, with the outcome being a list of vision statements (who we want to be as a parish), and ultimately, a Master Strategic Plan to guide our work for the next several years. The date, time, and meeting place for the remaining session can be found below. Please take 90 minutes out of your busy schedules to attend one of these gatherings and provide necessary feedback about our parish and our future. There will be child care available for this session.
Saint Stephen the Martyr Pastoral Planning Committee
Listening Session Dates/Times/Places
Monday, February 19 Dining Room 7:00 p.m.
What is happening?
February 16th – Stations of the Cross – Fridays in Lent at 6 p.m. 2/16, 2/23, 3/2, 3/9, 3/16 and a Special Reflective Stations on 3/23.
The KofC is hosting Fish Frys on Fridays in Lent in the Dining Room from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. We have a varied menu for all tastes. Come and enjoy!
February 17th/18th – This is Undie Sunday. Bring new shorts, T-shirts, panties, and socks for men, women, and children – all sizes for all ages. Place your donations in the boxes in the dining room.
February 18th – Our youth group will host part two of the Teen / Parent night – Armor & Angels: A Life Night with Fr. Dave Belt on our Defense Against the Devil: Sacraments & Angels, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Parish Center
February 25th – A Special Listening Session for the Youth of our Parish, 7-9 PM in the Parish Center – Come and let your voice be heard.
Martyr Madness – Please take items off of the trees and return the donations by February 25th!
Please volunteer to work at Martyr Madness! Visit bidpal.net/martyrmadness, stephen.org or Sign-Up Genius at http://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080a4faaaf283-evening/8328621.
Please look for our events, mass schedules and special events on the website calendar at https://stephen.org/events/.
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