Prayer. Fasting. Almsgiving. Lent has nearly begun. Along with its approach, as Catholics we frequently adopt this familiar trio of disciplines to help strengthen and guide us in preparation for the observances of Holy Week. So, it is, and so it should continue to be. But this year, we are called to add a fourth discipline-also familiar, but perhaps more critical in 2022 than at any other time in recent memory: Love Your Neighbor.
Nobody would deny the central position or ongoing importance of this fourth discipline that is imperative in practicing our faith. Yet the prolonged “COVID-driven isolation” we have experienced, coupled with the current pervasive atmosphere of incivility and social divisiveness on all sides, reminds us that loving our neighbor must become a conscious, purposeful endeavor once again.
Fr. Patrick Burns and the Pastoral Council ask us this Lent to think more directly about ways to practice loving our neighbor during Lent. Looking forward, in this space in the bulletin, you will read about concrete ways to do so. For instance, a presentation will be made in the North Church Hall in two weeks to support an inner-city food pantry, which will be explained in the March 6th bulletin.
More often, we will explore our Catholic tradition of loving one another-both the neighbor we know well, the stranger we never think about, those we find easy to love and those who pose challenges. We will look to our Saints and Church teachings to help us through this process.