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We have embarked on our Lenten journey for 2014. The main disciplines that we are called to focus upon during this holy time of year are prayer, fasting, and alms-giving.
The primary prayer for Catholics is the Mass. It is a time for us to come together to listen to the Word of God and receive the Eucharist. Strengthened by God's Word and the Body and Blood of Christ we are better equipped to go out into the world and spread the Good News.
Fasting is a way that we go without in order to raise our awareness that the emptiness we experience in our lives can only be satisfied in our relationship with Jesus Christ. Every Catholic is required to fast one hour before the reception of Holy Communion and this is something we do throughout the year. During Lent we fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday so that we might express our gratitude to God for all that His Son has done for us through His Cross and Resurrection.
Alms-giving is a way that we respond to the needs of the poor among us. It is the recognition that every person is a child of God and a brother or sister to us. As a result, they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and to the best of our ability we are called to respond to their suffering.
Our Outreach Ministry is the primary way that we strive to make a positive difference in the lives of those suffering here in Johnson County. Two years ago we opened a Food Pantry here at our parish and this year I am calling for all of us to take it to the next level. It is my goal that we will construct a free-standing Food Pantry on our parish grounds.
The needs of the poor are great and I have been inspired by Pope Francis and his call to better serve the needs of those less fortunate than ourselves. In his recent Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, the Holy Father states that the parish is not an outdated institution and depending on the openness and creativity of the pastor and the community great things can be achieved. I believe that a permanent facility for our Food Pantry is a step in the right direction. To quote Pope Francis, "The parish is the presence of the Church in a given territory, an environment for hearing God's word, for growth in the Christian life, for dialogue, proclamation, charitable outreach, worship and celebration."
The creation of a Food Pantry building is an ambitious undertaking but one that is attainable. Therefore, I hope and pray that you will financially support this undertaking as part of the Lenten discipline of alms-giving. Together we can achieve great things and carry on the missionary activity of the Church.
May God's love and peace be with all of you.
Fr Vincent P. Lampert
Born April 7