This past Wednesday (Feb. 17) was Ash Wednesday. I celebrated the noon Mass (at the Pastoral Center). It was a standing-room only crowd of people coming for ashes. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy
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I want to begin this week by saying that I am deeply moved by the outpouring of love and support for our brothers and sisters in Haiti.
Through parish special collections in the Archdiocese of Boston, $1,600,000 have been collected to date. The funds for this effort are still in the process of being submitted by our parishes so we expect the total amount we will be turning over to Catholic Relief Services for aid to Haiti will be approximately $2,000,000.
I am proud of the outreach of our pastoral, health care and social service ministries to those impacted by the earthquake in Haiti and to their friends and family in the Archdiocese of Boston. We continue to keep the people of Haiti in our thoughts and prayers and vow to continue to do all we can to assist our brethren in their time of greatest need.
This past Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, which marked the beginning of the season of Lent.
That day, we had two Masses at the Pastoral Center: an 8 a.m. and noon. I celebrated the noon Mass and there were a number of concelebrating priests and deacons.
It was a standing-room only crowd of people coming for ashes. Ash Wednesday is a day when Catholics do feel drawn to the Church, as this very ancient ritual strikes a chord in people’s hearts.
We’re very happy that in all of our parishes and chapels there are so many Catholics who do make a point of coming to receive the ashes. I understand that at St. Anthony Shrine on Arch Street they give out ashes to about 40,000 people.
One of the things I spoke about in my homily was ‘‘The Light Is On For You,’’ a program that we are initiating this Lent here in the archdiocese that gives the opportunity for confessions in all of our churches and chapels on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
I encourage you all to visit one of our churches or chapels on Wednesdays during this Lenten season. The lights will be on.