ARE YOU ALIVE OR ARE YOU DEAD?
Revelation 3:1... I know your deeds, you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead .....
Revelation 2:4 ... But I have this against you: you have abandoned the love you had at first ....
Romans 12:11 ... Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord ....
Dear Friends in Christ and fellow devotees of Saint Philomena,
May the good Lord pour down upon us, as we enter into the Holy Season of Lent, the blessings of the Holy Spirit, May the Spouse of our Blessed Mother stir up within our hearts an ardent desire to walk in the light of Christ rather in the darkness of the world.
Lent is a season of fasting, self-denial, spiritual growth, conversion and simplicity.
Coming from the Teutonic word for springtime, Lent can be viewed as a time of spring cleaning, a time for taking a spiritual inventory. It is also a time for cleaning out those things that hinder our relationship with Christ and our service to Him, and through Him to our brothers and sisters in His name. Therefore, our Lenten disciplines are to ultimately transform our entire persons body, soul, and spirit to enable us to be more like Christ.
Originally, people did not observe Lent for more than a week. Some kept it for one or two days. Others observed the Lenten discipline for 40 consecutive hours, falsely believing that only forty hours had elapsed between Christ's Death and Resurrection. Eventually it became a 40-day period of fasting and abstinence. However, the emphasis was not so much on fasting as on spiritual renewal deemed necessary for the celebration of Easter. From the 5th century on the observance of a strict fast was called for a fast consisting of one meal a day a -- meal to be taken in the evening. Over the years, since the 9th century, the strict rules of the Lenten fast have been relaxed.
Lent can be for us a time to humble ourselves before God in order that through fasting, fortified through prayer, we can draw closer to God and live his way of life in all things -- a life of generous giving and service.
Do we see the Lenten discipline of fasting, prayer and alms giving as something meaningless, or do we appreciate it as a means to keeping our spiritual fervor in serving Christ and one another strong and vibrant.
It is through the Wisdom of the Saints made known to me through the lives of the Saints -- especially for me, the life of Saint Philomena -- that I have come to know and experience that fasting, prayer and alms giving have helped me to draw nearer to Christ, and through Him, nearer to those whom I have been called to serve.
Pope Benedict XVI, at the beginning of Lent 2012, urged us to stir up within our hearts a genuine concern for one another, and live a life of love and good works together with our brothers and sisters. In order that we might sustain this life shaped by the Gospel, it is important for us to participate together as a community in the Lenten discipline of prayer (Mass, Stations, Evening Prayer etc), fasting (spending time with needy/giving up TV, ball games etc), and alms giving (providing food for needy, support education for youth etc.) Pope Benedict says that we should not remain indifferent to the fate of our brothers and sisters. All too often, he says, our attitude can be the opposite -- an attitude of indifference and disinterest -- born of selfishness and masked as a respect for "privacy".
Pope Paul VI made the statement that the world is suffering from a serious lack of brotherhood. He said that humanity is seriously sick. The cause of this illness is not due to such things as depletion of natural resources, nor control by a privileged few, rather it is due to a weakening of brotherly ties between individuals and nations.
In a world which demands of Christians a renewed witness of love and fidelity to the Lord, may all of us feel the urgent need to anticipate one another in charity, service and good works.
ARE YOU DEAD OR ARE YOU ALIVE?
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor serving the Lord and your brothers and sisters in Christ alive by participating in the Lenten life enriching disciplines of Lent -- fasting, prayer and alms giving.
I would urge you to take seriously Marie's plea for help with the needs of the Sanctuary. From what I understand the conditions of the Sanctuary are very poor. We need to improve the conditions for the well being of those who live there, who work there and for those who will be visiting. Let us be especially concerned for Msgr Braschi and his needs. His love for St Philomena is so evident in all he has done to care for the Sanctuary and promoting the Devotion of St. Philomena.
St. Philomena pray for us.
May the Blessings of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit descend upon all and bless all with a very special Holy Season of Lent.
Fr. Robert G. Gibas
Archconfraternity Spiritual Director
For all of the United States of America
Support the Sanctuary of Saint Philomena
The Sanctuary of Saint Philomena is not a parish Church. We do not have parishioners who support this place of worship on a weekly basis. We are completely dependent on the love and generosity of you, the world-wide devotees, to keep the doors of the earthly home of Saint Philomena open.
We pray at the Sanctuary for the devotees of Saint Philomena to recognize and provide the means to pay our monthly utilities of gas and electricity. We also pray for the means to install a lift at the Sanctuary to enable physically challenged pilgrims to experience the entire home of their beloved Saint.
In order to ensure the Sanctuary is able to keep our doors open to you and to continue to offer God continual praise and to be the focal point through which our prayers are received by Saint Philomena and interceded for before God at the Sanctuary, you may donate in the following ways:
- Direct to the Sanctuary:
- By personal check payable to the "Sanctuary of Saint Philomena." For security reasons, please send your donation through registered or express mail to the Sanctuary's address at the bottom of this newsletter.
- Online - Go to our Support Page, Click Here
- By bank transfer to the Sanctuary's Bank account: BANCA UNICREDIT MUGNANO DEL CARDINALE(30525) BANK ACCOUNT:N° 000400102946 SWIFT CODE:UNCRITM1E94 IBAN:IT18D0200875790000400102946
- U.S.A. Tax-Deductible Donations may be sent to the new non-profit set up in the United States:
- Online - Go to our Support Page, Click Here
- Postal mail donations can be made to: Saint Philomena Sanctuary Support Fund, Inc. P.O. Box 4114 Bergheim, Texas 78004, U.S.A.