Sunday, February 27, 2022
Tuesday, February 22, 2022
I am glad that Lent is here. If used the way it is intended, this season is a tremendous spiritual preparation for Holy Week and Easter. I personally need to take more time for prayer, fasting and almsgiving as the Gospel reminds us.
Speaking honestly, there is one thing that I hate, however. It is that phone call that comes to most parishes constantly on Ash Wednesday asking: “Father, what time are ashes?”
Why the tremendous preoccupation with ashes? Why can’t the question be: “What time is Mass?” or “When can I receive Holy Communion?”
What is it about ashes?
Ashes, after all, are a reminder of our mortality: Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
They also tell us of our need to do penance: Repent, and believe in the Gospel.
It is my hope that people do not see ashes (burnt palm) as something that they “need to get,” above and beyond the desire to attend Mass and to receive Holy Communion on that day. That is the reason why I actually prefer not to have only a Liturgy of the Word service with the distribution of ashes. My thought process is this: some burnt palm on the forehead (a sacramental) is significantly less important than receiving Jesus, the Bread of Life, in Holy Communion.
Please remember that Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting (one full meal) and abstinence from eating meat. With Good Friday, these are the only two days that we are required by the Church to fast the entire year!
We need to take seriously the need to turn away from sin, to repent and to follow the Gospel.
Fr. Ed Namiotka
Monday, February 21, 2022
Tuesday, February 15, 2022
For the past couple of weeks I have been following with great interest the activities of the truckers in Canada. I chose to watch live-stream videos (Ottawalks, Zoke, etc.) rather than follow the activities on the legacy or main-stream media. I preferred to observe the raw footage that was provided, so that I did not have to listen to any particular ideology or political philosophy which is often dictated by various commentators and pundits.
Since the truckers’ situation apparently pertained to the country directly north of us, I think I am relatively objective in what I see, without being directly tied to their political system. Day after day the truckers’ situation in Ottawa (their nation’s Capital) seemed to gain strength and momentum. The protest was overwhelmingly peaceful. Demonstrators picked up trash, shoveled snow, fed the people, handed out hand warmers and actually protected various national monuments (after some fringe agitators tried to “desecrate” them). The protest resembled more of a block party, rather than a violent protest. I saw music and dancing, fireworks, and flags from the various provinces around Canada. When truckers and others were interviewed, they mostly appeared to be hard-working, family-loving people, from mixed ethnic backgrounds, who were fed up with the government mandates and restrictions they had experienced for the past couple of years. I saw truckers praying the Our Father together and people singing the Canadian national anthem with patriotic pride. Canadian flags appeared everywhere. The bottom line of the demonstration was pure and simple: People want their freedom back. Do away with the restrictive mandates.
Fr. Ed Namiotka