From our pastor, Father Neil Herlihy:
Saint Gregory of Nazianzen lived in the fourth century and was a great bishop and scholar of our early Church. In addition to his many intellectual gifts, He had a true love for God and also a true love for neighbor, especially those who were poor, sick, or marginalized in some way. He reminded us in one of his many writings of the need to serve Christ in the poor. He said, “Let us visit Christ whenever we may, let us care for him, feed him, clothe him, welcome him, honor him.” “There should be no delay between your intention and your good deed. Generosity is the one thing that cannot admit delay.”
These words should resonate with us as Fr. Josh leads a group of fathers and sons from our Parish community on a mission trip to Peru. This trip comes at a time when we continue our Lenten journey of faith. It reflects the desire for generosity and self-sacrifice which is especially encouraged during this season. It also provides an excellent opportunity for prayer, fasting, and almsgiving which should be integral dimensions of our Lenten experience. This trip is undertaken in affiliation with the Christian Life Movement here in the United States which has organized trips to Peru in the past.
As we well know, Pope Francis in his first year as Pope has expressed the need for concern for the poor and marginalized as well as the need to strengthen the bonds of the family. We believe this trip will reflect the spirit of Pope Francis and address the needs he has emphasized. Fathers and sons will venture to Peru to assist the poorest of the poor. They will assist in the construction of the most basic of houses in a Shantytown that has little or no running water and lacks even the most basic of necessities. These parishioners will also bring food and clothing to children who have little in the way of material comforts. They will participate in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass each day and also make time for daily prayer. These fathers and sons will no doubt strengthen their family bonds as they toil and sweat side by side during this nine day trip. Sons will come to more fully appreciate how blessed we are here in the United States and how all too often we take our blessings and material comforts for granted.
During this season of Lent, we ask you to pray for the poor, the sick, and the marginalized in some special way. Pray for our parishioners on this trip. I suggest, if possible, that we strive to spend a “holy hour” in prayer in solidarity with the people of Peru and our parishioners on this trip. We are urged to prayerfully consider doing our small part in building the Kingdom of God here on earth as we get closer and closer to the glory of the Easter Resurrection.