In Matthew’s Gospel we hear how, after His Baptism but before it was time for His public ministry to begin, Jesus spent 40 days in the desert. He fasted, prayed, and resisted every temptation the devil was throwing His way. Prior to preaching and teaching, Jesus anchored His heart and mind to the Father. And every year during the Lenten season, the Church, in her wisdom, offers us a particular time to do the same — to fast and to pray in a way that anchors us to God and strengthens us for a life of service to the Gospel.
“Lent offers us a time to reflect and prepare ourselves, and to understand our own need for God’s grace,” Fr. John says. “In our time of Lent, we should be looking at what is keeping us from a deeper relationship with God, and that is what we should be giving up.”
We need to understand the purpose of the Lenten season, and it’s not just to make us suffer — quite the contrary. Sure, as we approach Lent each year, many of us give up some of the things we like — for example, sweets and chocolate, television, or social media. In giving any number of those things up, we may experience some suffering. But the suffering is not the end goal. In fact, as Fr. John explains it, if we simply give up chocolate for Lent only to heavily indulge in it come Easter morning, we have lost the point.
“The purpose of Lent is to help us grow in our relationships with God,” Fr. John says. “So as we consider giving something up, we ought to look at what things we are doing that are getting in the way of our relationship with God. Consider giving those up. Maybe it is chocolate or an addiction to it. Maybe it is social media or any number of other things.
“But then, don’t just give it up,” he adds. “Replace it with something. Consider how you are going to give up something that is getting in the way of your relationship with God and then use the time or money you spent on that to grow closer to Him.”
Then, come to the festivities of the Bartlesville Catholic Community. There are many ways to enter into the prayerful season of Lent and Fr. John encourages all of us to do so.
“You are a part of the Bartlesville Catholic Community,” Fr. John says. “These are your brothers and sisters in Christ. We, as a community of Catholics, are in this together. Get to know how awesome your fellow parishioners are and let them get to know how awesome you and your family are.”
Find time to come to our fish frys. They are held every Friday at the Fr. Lynch Hall from 5 to 7 p.m. And then, either before or after you eat, participate in the 6 p.m. Holy Hour at St. John, followed by Stations of the Cross at 7 p.m. Additionally, Stations of the Cross are prayed in Spanish at 8 p.m. every Friday at St. John. On Friday, March 1, our live Stations of the Cross will be held at 7 p.m.
Wednesday nights are full of spiritual opportunities as well. Every Wednesday during Lent, we will have adoration and confessions before the 5:15 p.m. Mass. On March 3, 4, and 5, we will welcome Michael John Poirier to Bartlesville as he leads our Lenten Community Mission, a time that promises to be faith-filled and fruitful. Be sure to make the time to participate! The Lenten Mission will also include opportunities for confessions and adoration. God’s mercy abounds, and He offers it to each of us. But it is up to us to make the commitment to actively engage and experience His love and mercy as we do.
“Lent should be a time that serves to change our lives, but we have to participate,” Fr. John says.
Live Lent intentionally this year, and let the God of love and mercy transform you as you do. Then, as we enter into the celebration of Easter, we do so having built deeper relationships with God and a renewed commitment to live for Him.
Ash Wednesday Mass
7 a.m., 9 a.m. (school Mass), noon,
7 p.m (in Spanish) — St. John
7 p.m. — St. James
Other Wednesdays during Lent
Adoration/Confession — 4:30 to 5 p.m.
Mass — 5:15 p.m.
Fridays during Lent (at St. John)
Fish Fry — 5 to 7 p.m.
Holy Hour — 6 p.m.
Stations of the Cross (English) — 7 p.m.
Stations of the Cross (Spanish) — 8 p.m.
Holy Week Schedule
Normal Sunday Mass Schedule
7 p.m. Spanish Mass at St. John;
7 p.m. English Mass at St. James
3 p.m. Stations of the Cross
(at St. John and at St. James)
7 p.m. Veneration of the Cross Service
(Spanish at St. John, English at St. James)
8:30 p.m Bilingual Easter Vigil at St. John
Regular Mass Schedule