“Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”
We heard these words this past Wednesday when ashes were imposed on our foreheads. At the core of this clarion call is this reminder: we are exiles; we are not destined for this earth because our citizenship is in heaven. We regularly refer to members of churches as “parishioners”—why? The word “parish” comes from the Greek paroikos which means “exile” or “sojourner.” By referring to ourselves as “parishioners,” we recognize that we are brothers and sisters in exile journeying together toward heaven. Through Easter, we are going to pray the following prayer for each other as we journey together toward the resurrection and our heavenly homeland. I encourage you to pick up a bookmark-size copy near the bulletins or in the gathering space and pray it daily. In fact, set an alarm daily for noon to pray it—that way we are praying it collectively, even if we are not physically together! May we all have a blessed Lent as we cleanse our mind, heart, and soul for the celebration of the Easter mysteries.
Our Parish Lenten Prayer
Merciful and Loving Father,
in this holy season of Lent,
we ask that you enlighten our minds, inflame our hearts,
and make us aware of your great love for us.
Help us to turn away from sin, believe in the Gospel,
and live the ways of your truth.
Your Son, our Savior, has defeated death itself
and made us your sons and daughters by our Baptism.
Increase in us the faith that you are truly here in the Eucharist
and in every member of our Church.
Thank you for the ways you have blessed our parish community.
Help us to communicate to others the joy which discipleship brings,
so that others may come to follow your Son.
Heal those who are sick or hurting,
comfort those who mourn,
and bring back those members of our family who are lost.
Relying on the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, and Saint Wendelin,
we ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.