Dear Parishioners,

On this final Sunday before the Season of Lent begins, we hear of the call of Peter, James and John (Luke 5:1-11) into a new ministry of “fishing.” Peter’s admission that he is a “sinful man” should encourage us in our own journey of spiritual self-discovery. In a few weeks, on the Second Sunday of Lent, we will hear of Peter, James and John experience the Transfiguration of Jesus (Luke 9:28-36) which confirms that self-discovery requires a response to put behind us our sinful ways, take up “new nets,” and listen to (and for) the voice of God which tells us “where” to cast His nets.

In the “Book of Blessings,” the resource of the church’s “official prayers and blessings” for objects and occasions, I found a blessing for boats and fishing gear! I have to admit that I never noticed this before, nor have I ever used it! Within the blessing are a simple litany and a prayer of blessing that could apply to both “fishermen” and “fishers of men”:

At the command of the Son of God the sea was calmed and the nets were filled to overflowing. Let us call upon Christ with faith:
In the face of wind and rain:  Guide us safely Lord!
In the stillness and calm of the sea:  Guide us safely Lord!
In our respect for dignity of creation:  Guide us safely Lord!
In remembrance of those who labored at sea and have gone to their rest:  Guide us safely Lord!

God of boundless love, at the beginning of creation your Spirit hovered over the deep. You call forth every creature, and the seas teemed with life. Through your Son, Jesus Christ, you have given us the rich harvest of salvation. Bless this boat, its equipment, and all who will use it. Protect them from the dangers of the wind and the rain and all the perils of the deep. May Christ, who calmed the storm and filled the nets of the disciples, bring us to the harbor of light and peace.

I would offer a word of reminder that Ash Wednesday is a day of both fasting and abstinence. Ashes will be distributed at all of the Liturgical celebrations which take place on that day. The schedule is printed in the bulletin today.

All the Fridays of the Lenten Season are also days of abstinence. Stations of the Cross will be on each of the Fridays of the Lenten Season as well, at 6:00pm in English and at 7:30pm in Spanish.

May the week ahead be filled with countless graces and blessings!

Fr. Bob

PS:  Next Weekend we begin the annual Our Catholic Appeal. The assessment for Blessed Sacrament this year is $268,241 which is a $1729 increase from last year. The assessment for Santo Toribio Mission is $18, 271 which is a $5253 increase from last year. I am so very grateful for your support of the Diocese. Last year 1018 households of Blessed Sacrament and 119 households of Santo Toribio participated in the appeal.

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