4th Sunday of Easter


Dear Friends,

This Fourth Sunday of Easter is known as ‘Good Shepherd Sunday’ as the focus is on Jesus who has accorded that beautiful title of ‘Good Shepherd’ to himself. Today is World Day of Prayer for Vocations when the Church throughout the world prays for and promotes vocations to priesthood and religious life. We have been doing this often. Our Parish Vocation Ministry has been promoting vocation as a call to holiness to which God has called everyone.

Even as we pray for more young people to answer the call to priesthood and religious life, we need to realize that shepherding is a vocation that is limited not only to priests, deacons, or religious men and women but also to parents, grandparents, teachers, counselors and others who guide, care for, nurture and lead those under their charge. Each of these shepherding roles has many challenges. Look at parenting for instance. Parenting is a divine call by which you become co-creators and sustainers of life with God. Children are a gift from God (Psalm 127:3-5) and the Bible is very clear about the responsibility of both father and mother in bringing up children with the right values. The Bible demands several things from Christian parents in their duty of parenting. Some of these are:

Availability – morning, noon, and night (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).

Involvement – interacting, discussing, thinking, and processing life together (Ephesians 6:4)

Teaching – the Scriptures and a biblical worldview (Psalm 78:5-6; Deuteronomy 4:10; Ephesians 6:4)

Training – helping a child to develop skills and discover his/her strengths (Proverbs 22:6) and spiritual gifts (Romans 12:3-8 and 1 Corinthians 12)

 Discipline – teaching the fear of the Lord, drawing the line consistently, lovingly, firmly (Ephesians 6:4; Hebrews 12:5-11; Proverbs 13:24; 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; 29:15-17)

Nurture – providing an environment of constant verbal support, freedom to fail, acceptance, affection, unconditional love (Titus 2:4; 2 Timothy 1:7; Ephesians 4:29-32; 5:1-2; Galatians 5:22; 1 Peter 3:8-9)

Modeling with Integrity – living what you say, being a model from which a child can learn by “catching” the essence of godly living (Deuteronomy 4:9, 15, 23; Proverbs 10:9; 11:3; Psalm 37:18, 37).

That is a tall order! What makes it all the more difficult is the hostile cultural environment in which Christian parents find themselves fighting to protect their children. Many of the cultural values clash with the values that parents want to instill in their children. Hence, we need to support, help, appreciate, and encourage all our parents, as we pray for more good priests, more good deacons, and more good consecrated men and women. For, as Saint John Paul II said: “Jesus has a specific task in life for each and every one of us. Each one of us is handpicked, called by name by Jesus! There is no one among us who does not have a divine vocation!”  Yes, a vocation to holiness is for all of us.

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal


3rd Sunday of Easter


Dear Friends,

We are now pretty familiar with the tradition of having a number of adults receiving one or more of the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation) through our RCIA  (or OCIA, the new name that the Bishops have proposed). We had a total of eleven people receiving these at the Easter Vigil this year: Jason Olmedo-Hernandez, Phyllis Carbone, Gigi Fortuna-Clase, Beverly Gilliam, Norvin Gilliam, Maxwell Lumax, Claudia Roque, Chelsea Lopez, Amanda Fortuna Clase, Josh Lumax and Alexis Lumax. We congratulate these neophytes. Now, that is a word we don’t hear often. A “neophyte” (its Greek root means the newly planted) is a term used for those who have been initiated as full members of a religion like Christianity or Judaism or one who has joined a religious order. In our context, a neophyte is one who has been incorporated into the fullness of the life of the Church as the Body of Christ. Now these new members enter into the final phase of the RCIA process which is known as Mystagogy, which simply means learning about the mysteries. The RCIA instruction no.244 says: “This is a time for the community and the neophytes together to grow in deepening their grasp of the paschal mystery and in making it part of their lives through meditation on the Gospel, sharing in the Eucharist, and doing the works of charity. ….” 

What is interesting is that the Church’s focus of the mystagogy is the Community into which these new members have been incorporated! It means that mystagogy is a time for us all to grow in understanding the paschal mystery. The entire purpose of the RCIA process is to lead the participants into a relationship of communion and intimacy with Jesus. As the community of St. Matthias, we are an important part of mystagogy.

Our RCIA process is coordinated by Anne-Marie Francis and Mary Frances Reavey with their teammates Gondee Tibay, Mercy Ekwere, Dee Christmas and Carmen Calvimontes.  They have been doing an amazing job every year as they guide these men and women in the ways of our faith. I wish to thank them sincerely for rising up to the challenges and carrying out this ministry of faith formation and evangelization of those who wish to be part of the community of faith in Jesus Christ. They are true models and torchbearers of faith.

Let us remember that we all are called to be models and torchbearers of Christian witness and experience to the neophytes as well as to all those we meet in our daily living. The Sunday Mass is key to a successful mystagogy because the three ways mentioned above – meditation on the Gospel and sharing in the Eucharist which leads us to the works of charity – are meant for the whole community’s full, conscious and active participation.

I have a request: you may know some adults who may not be baptized, or who are baptized but have not received Communion or Confirmation. Why not speak to them about receiving these Sacraments of Initiation? Why not invite them to join our next RCIA class? That is another sign of you becoming a witness to Jesus.

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal


Divine Mercy Sunday


Dear Friends,

I’m sure that all of us noticed a much larger number of people attending the Holy Week services here at St. Matthias. The Easter Vigil was exceptionally crowded – in comparison to the previous years. Why do more people attend church? According to a new Public Religion Research Institute survey on American religion, 90% of those polled cited a desire to feel closer to God as their explanation for attending church. Other common explanations include to experience religion in a community (80%) or to instill religious values in young people (79%). No matter what, it was very gratifying to see so many of our people present at the Church services in person. We continue to pray that the new life and new hope from the Risen Christ will bring more blessings and a greater awareness of the need for God in our life.

Easter is such a foundational feast of our faith, that the Church continues to celebrate it for about seven weeks. The power of Easter has transformed the face of the earth as believers began to increase and Christianity began to spread all over the world. It is unbelievable but true that after the preaching of Peter: “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand persons were added that day.” (Acts 2:41). Besides the preaching of the apostles, the early Christians themselves were the best missionaries to their own neighbors and friends, sharing the power of the Resurrected Jesus to bring about change of hearts. It continues to happen in our own times.

The importance of Easter is highlighted by our church’s instructions to celebrate Easter Sunday as one long period of eight days or Octave. The Universal Norms # 22 says: The first eight days of Easter season make up the octave of Easter and are celebrated as Solemnities of the Lord. The days of the Octave form the “early hours” of this “great Sunday,” with accounts of the Lord who rose early in the morning, and the early preaching of the disciples who were witnesses to his resurrection.

Today, the eighth day of Easter, is Divine Mercy Sunday – a feast instituted by St. John Paul II, to realize the depth of the mercy of God for each one of us personally. Sister Faustina who had revelations about this desire from Jesus wrote the words of Jesus in her diary entry # 206: “On the day of My feast, the Feast of Mercy, you will go through the whole world and bring fainting souls to the spring of My mercy.  I shall heal and strengthen them”. People all over the world, including our parishioners, began the Divine Mercy Novena on March 29. Today after the 10 am Mass, there will be a Divine Mercy celebration with praying the Rosary in our Church.

May the Risen Lord help us experience God’s mercy in ourselves and may He help us to offer the same mercy to others, thereby becoming true witnesses who will attract others to our church and our faith in Jesus Christ.

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal


Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord


Dear Friends,

Jesus Christ is Risen! He is truly risen! These are the traditional greetings of Eastern Rite Catholics on Easter Sunday, and I address you with these words of faith. May the blessings of the Risen Christ be with each of us as we joyfully celebrate the history-changing Resurrection of Jesus Christ, whose death on a cross for our sins preceded his resurrection and multiple appearances to the apostles after his resurrection.

Why is Resurrection so important? If Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose again three days later, then it changed everything. It is the only instance of a human being raising himself from the dead in human history. Why is Resurrection so important for us Christians? St. Paul gives the best answer: “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless, and so is our faith.” (1 Corinthians 15:14).

Yet, there have been skeptics who questioned the resurrection. There are many reasons to repudiate their doubts. You can read all about that elsewhere in this bulletin, under the heading: “Why we believe in the Resurrection.” But I loved what Wolfhart Pannenberg, the German philosopher, said: “The evidence for Jesus’ resurrection is so strong that nobody would question it except for two things: First, it is a very unusual event. And second, if you believe it happened, then you have to change the way you live.” Belief in the Resurrection forces us to change the way we live. That’s what happened to Paul who changed from being the fiercest persecutor into the staunchest promoter of Christianity.

Easter will become meaningful to us when we realize that Jesus lives among us whenever we gather in His name. Not only for the Eucharist or for Lenten small groups, but also when we come together for every association or ministry meeting and whenever we organize any parish event – both of which are in abundance here at St. Matthias. He is present in our homes when we gather as a family not only for meals or prayer, but also for any family event. When we reach out to the less fortunate with help, we lift up the hand of Jesus. When we listen to one who is troubled, we make Jesus present to that person. In these and many other ways, we give witness to the mystery of Jesus living among us. Indeed, we become the Body of Christ for the world. Let us experience more of that Easter Joy!

Easter Blessings to you and to your dear ones!

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal


Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord


Dear Friends,

Palm Sunday may remind us that the Lenten season of sacrifice and self-denial is coming to an end, but this week is extremely important for all Christians. The greatest focus of the week is the Passion (suffering) and Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the events that led up to it. The “Chrism Mass” will be on Tuesday in the Cathedral where the Bishop, together with all the priests, will commemorate one important event of the Holy Thursday – the institution of the Priesthood. It is during this Mass that the Bishop will bless the sacred oils used for the Sacraments. Besides Fr. Lancelot and myself, Mike Lanyi, our dedicated Sacristan, and his wife Debbie, who also is very committed to ministering in our parish, will represent our parish. They will bring some of these blessed oils back to our parish.

“Easter Triduum” is a term we hear more frequently this week. It simply means “a three day festival” of prayer and worship, beginning on the evening of Holy Thursday and ending on Easter Sunday. A short note on each of these days is given on page 5 of this bulletin. My earnest request to you, dear brothers and sisters, is that you make every effort this week to attend these sacred events. Can we consider this week as a time of grace for all of us as a family and so make sure that we participate in these worship services even by making some sacrifice this week, by rescheduling other activities, by rearranging other plans and thus giving priority to this week? You will see the grace of God flowing into your lives and into your homes.

You heard me inviting you to attend the Easter Vigil Service, at 8 pm on Saturday, March 30, especially if you have not attended one. Some think it is way too long and so avoid it! Listen to a Catholic layperson who worked in a parish office and thought the same way but had a very different experience when attended it:

“For many years I avoided the Easter Vigil like you avoid people who have a stomach virus.  At some point in my career as a parish staff and minister, I needed to attend.  I was not really looking forward to it.  I had heard it was very long, with many readings and a long homily. Nevertheless, duty called and so off I went. What an amazing experience it was to attend the Easter Vigil.  Yes, it was a bit longer than a usual Mass but containing such beauty and richness that when it was over I thought truly heaven and earth had met that night.”

Why miss such a wonderful opportunity? I must add that the music will be truly upbeat and uplifting. Joan Seamon and all our music ministers have been spending so much of their time and talent into helping us have a truly enriching experience through music for every Mass but in a very special way for the Easter Vigil. Our RCIA class will be receiving the Sacraments of Initiation at Easter Vigil. It will be a great opportunity for you to welcome them into our community as full-fledged members during the Easter Vigil, which is full of signs and symbols of our faith giving us an ethereal experience of sacred mysteries. Hence, I request you to come and experience the beautiful liturgies of the Holy Week, but in a special way the Easter Vigil that the Fathers of the Church termed “the mother of all vigils.”

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal


5th Sunday of Lent


Dear Friends,

Last Sunday we had a day of Self Care Fair. It was a wonderful experience with representatives from 16 different organizations explaining their mission and giving away their flyers and other stuff. There were breakout sessions with various demonstrations and presentations on various aspects of being a better you in the library and the classrooms. Msgr. Joseph Kerrigan did a breakout session on Centering Prayer. What made this Self Care Fair very unique was that it was fully youth initiated and led by a total of 23 Teens – grades 8th to 12th from 4 parishes – St. Augustine, Kendall Park, Holy Family, New Brunswick, St. Joseph, Bound Brook, and our own St. Matthias. Thanks to our Deacon John Radvanski in a very special way for his supervising this event with the help of Sue Lenczewski, our SMYLE Coordinator. There were many other adults who served as Mentors and/or Professional Mental Health Advisors to whom we offer our gratitude. We wish to gratefully acknowledge the following organizations and agencies that participated: Catholic Charities, Central Jersey Family Health Consortium, NAMI NJ, Safe & Sound, Community Police Alliance of Somerset County, Franklin Township Stigma Free Council, Freedom From Fear, Operation Code Red, Mental Health First Aid -Empower Somerset, NJ Harm Reduction Coalition, Saint Peter’s University Hospital’s Community Health Services  (Nutrition), The Center For Therapy & Counseling Services, 988 Suicide Hotline,  Caring Contact, Franklin C.A.N. Franklin Cops and Autism Network, RWJ Barnabas Community Health from New Brunswick, and Zufall.

The presence of three Therapy Dogs brought extra cheer to all. There were generous donors (local vendors and individuals) who brought food and drinks to both the visitors and volunteers; they deserve our thanks in a special way. Deacon John Radvanski will be writing about this event in an upcoming issue with more information about and acknowledgment of all those involved/participated. It was truly a unique event for us, showing the holistic approach to our total well being. This event has given us an impetus to have more such events so that our mental, physical and emotional health will be brought into focus together with the spiritual health in the Church.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day today! And Happy St. Joseph’s Feast in two days! Lavish celebrations for these two feasts, especially for St. Patrick’s Day, are typical. But it is very important to reflect on the spiritual dimension of each feast.

On the feast of St. Patrick, the church focuses on the missionary nature of the life of St. Patrick who converted the Irish population to Catholicism in his 33 years of apostolate there. The Irish rightly brought his legacy to places they have settled. This is the right time to read the biography of St. Patrick and be inspired to witness to gospel values in our life.

The Feast of St. Joseph is a higher ranking Solemnity in the Liturgical calendar of the Church. Therefore the Mass celebrated on March 19 is very much like a Sunday Mass with Gloria, and all the readings. The solemnity in the church is certainly followed by the solemnity at the dinner table too! St. Joseph’s silence in the gospels is an indication of his interior disposition of openness to listening to God – something we all can benefit from.

Happy Feast of St. Patrick! Happy Feast of St. Joseph!

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal


4th Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday

Dear Friends,

This Sunday we hold the Self Care Fair in our cafeteria. We have been promoting this event together with the “Empty Bowls Franklin” that takes place at the Double Tree hotel today. In this context, I think it is very fitting that we ask an important question: Should the church be concerned only with the spiritual health of the parishioners? Traditionally the answer we hear may be ‘YES.’ But the answer from the Bible is ‘NO!’ The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:23: “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” There are many other references to show how the Bible is interested not only in our soul-health but also in the health of our body and mind. Here are just a few:

Genesis.” 1:29 “And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit.

You shall have them for food.”

   3 John 1:2 “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well”.

   1 Timothy 5:23: “Do not go on drinking only water, but also use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.”

 Proverbs 12:25 “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.”.

  Jeremiah 30:17 “For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord, because they have called you an outcast: ‘It is Zion, for whom no one cares!’”

  Psalm 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”.

This inter-connectedness of mind, body and soul that the Bible teaches is corroborated by many researches. Look at some of their conclusions:

  1. Acidity is caused not only by diet errors, but more dominated because of stress.
  2. Hypertension is caused not only by too much consumption of salty foods, but mainly because of too much worries about future.
  3. Cholesterol is caused not only by fatty foods, but the excessive laziness or sedentary lifestyle is more responsible.
  4. Asthma not only because of the disruption of oxygen supply to lungs, but often sad feelings make lungs unstable.
  5. Diabetes not only because of too much consumption of glucose, but selfish & stubborn attitude disrupts the function of the pancreas.

Today’s Self Care Fair organized by our Youth Ministry/SMYLE – in collaboration with St. Augustine’s Kendall Park, Holy Family, New Brunswick, and St. Joseph, Bound Brook – is truly an effort to be holistic in our faith formation. The God of the Bible wants our growth in all life dimensions: physical or biological, mental or psychological, moral and social. The disciplines of medicine, psychology, even organizational development. Luke 2:52 captures in the life of Christ this holistic concept: “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men”  It is this holistic growth that we are promoting here in our parish through various events and activities. I invite us all to participate and be more holistic in our thinking and living.

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal

3rd Sunday of Lent


Dear Friends,

March 8 is International Women’s Day, an annual celebration to honor the achievements and contributions of women, while challenging the discrimination and oppression they continue to face. Pope Francis said: “On International Women’s Day, I think of all women: I thank them for their commitment to building a more humane society, through their ability to grasp reality with a creative eye and a tender heart.” We salute all the women for their invaluable contributions to enrich our families and communities, and pray for them in a special way.

This Sunday during the 10 am Mass, we have a Rite called ‘Scrutiny’ for the ‘Catechumen’ doing the RCIA. Are these strange terms for us? I think we will all remember that RCIA stands for the “Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults,” though a couple of years ago, the US Bishops decided that RCIA should be more appropriately named OCIA (Order of Christian Initiation for Adults). ‘Catechumen’ is the term used for an unbaptized person who is attending this preparation in RCIA, and ‘Candidate’ is the term used for a baptized person who did not receive Eucharist or Confirmation. This year we are privileged to have a number of people in the RCIA, preparing to receive one or more of the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation) at the Easter Vigil. They are: Jason Olmedo-Hernandez, Phyllis Carbone, Gigi Fortuna-Clase, Beverly Gilliam, Norvin Gilliam, Maxwell Lumax, Claudia Roque, Chelsea Lopez, Amanda Fortuna Clase, Josh Lumax and Alexis Lumax.

So, what is this rite called ‘scrutiny’? The official Book of the RCIA explains: “It is meant to uncover, and then heal all that is weak, defective, or sinful in the hearts of the elect; to bring out, then strengthen all that is upright, strong, and good.  For the scrutinies are celebrated in order to deliver the elect from the power of sin and Satan, to protect them against temptation, and to give them strength in Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life.” (no.141) Essentially, it is composed of prayers of intercession and the laying on of hands so that the Holy Spirit may be invoked that they are freed from the spirit of evil. Doing the first scrutiny at Mass gives the whole congregation an opportunity to pray for and support those preparing for the Easter sacraments and to make the point that conversion is not only a personal matter but a communal commitment.

More importantly, this Rite of Scrutiny is also an opportunity for the rest of us, to self-examine and see the need for healing in our weakness, detect the sinful habits in our lives and to nourish the good within us so that we can bear good fruits for Christ. Lent is the time to learn from our mistakes of overindulgence in food, drink, drugs, gambling, promiscuity, or any other addiction that may keep us from coming to the living waters of a right relationship with God.  We all have our short list, don’t we?  And we all know, honest to God, what it is we need to leave behind before we come to the Living Water and the Bread of Heaven – as the Samaritan woman shows us in the gospel of John.

Let’s continue to live a happy and holy Lent!

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal


2nd Sunday of Lent


Dear Friends,

Today’s noon Mass is our celebration of the Annual Black History Month Mass here at St. Matthias. I am very happy to welcome the presider Fr. Alphonsus Kariuki, Pastor at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Dunellen, Concelebrant Fr. Gilles Njobam from Our Lady of Piscataway in Perth Amboy, and Deacon Rick Fortune from the Cathedral of St. Francis. We are also happy to welcome the Cameroonian Catholics who will be the song leaders for this Mass.  We know that Black History Month is an annual celebration to honor the contributions and legacy of African Americans across U.S. history and society – from activists, civil rights pioneers, and religious leaders.

The USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) has a Subcommittee for African American Affairs which is the official voice of the African American Catholic community. This Subcommittee assists the U.S. Catholic bishops individually and collectively to attend to the needs and aspirations of African American Catholics regarding issues of pastoral ministry, evangelization, social justice, worship, development of leaders and other areas of concern. Bishop Joseph N. Perry, the Chairman of this Subcommittee, published a Lenten Reflection in which he wrote:

       We tread these forty days because we want to love God better, know ourselves better and love our neighbor better. Church is a group experience for Christians. We come together as a group because God created us to live in community and because Jesus modeled community as the way to God with his own twelve apostles and any number of other disciples, men and women, who were connected with his ministry. We know that if we try to journey alone, we will likely get lost.

        None of us is perfect. None of us knows the way all of the time. We all fail. We all need help. So, we come to listen to the Word of God and nourish ourselves with his Eucharist and share our strengths and challenges, our joys and sorrows for our own good and the good of all.
During Lent we discover out of the spiritual treasure troves of Church the fonts of God’s mercy and the richness of our fellowship with one another through the rituals of Eucharist, reconciliation, scriptural prophecy and life promised us in His resurrection.

The “spiritual treasure troves” that Bishop Perry mentioned above are what we offer here at St. Matthias. Besides the Holy Mass, we have devotions like the Stations of the Cross, Novenas, Adorations, Rosary, First Friday devotion/Holy Hour, etc. Our Lenten journey has a personal and communal dimension. Personally, we walk this journey by having personal practices, personal devotions and personal resolutions that will help us grow in holiness. But, it takes on an added meaning and benefit when we join the parish community and journey together. I am truly happy that many of our parishioners participate in the various devotions we have and reap rich spiritual benefits. Wouldn’t it be great if many more would do that?

Happy Lent!

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal


1st Sunday of Lent


Dear Friends,

It was so gratifying to see hundreds of people receiving ashes during the four services in our church and to see hundreds more at the drive-thru ash ministry in our parking lot. That is an excellent sign of the human longing to turn to God. The reception of ashes is the first step to follow God’s ways. But, any attempt to build a spiritual life that neglects the pillars of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving is building on sand. That’s why the gospel for Ash Wednesday is worth reflecting over again. Please read Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18. Jesus is teaching us: Prayer purifies our intentions and relates all we do to God. Fasting detaches us from our comfort and ourselves. Almsgiving reflects our brotherhood with the poor of Jesus’ family and reminds us that our true wealth is not in things but in the love of God. We all need to do a reality check on our spiritual lives to make sure that we are committed to prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

In this context, a challenging question for all of us is: how do we make Lent a spiritual success so that we can be more happy? For making any project or goal a success, we all need some motivation. For Lent, the motivation is the awareness that we can be better persons, that we can go beyond our present unhappy state of mind and experience true peace and joy if only we are willing to make some changes in our lives. Keeping this motivation in mind, here are 10 suggestions or ideas to make Lent a successful holy season:

1.  Read the Bible…. (a chapter a day?)
2. Attend Mass Daily (or watch it on our YouTube channel before going to bed)…
3. Go to Eucharistic Adoration. … (6-8 pm on Mondays in our church)
4. Complete a Work of Mercy. … (visiting a critically ill person, bringing food for that family)
5.  Pray the Rosary and/or Divine Mercy Chaplet… (can be done easily in car)
6.  Put Together a List of People to Pray for. … (especially those you know personally)
7. Make a Mini-Pilgrimage….(visit a nearby church or shrine like the Blue Army)
8. Do Spiritual Reading daily …. ((life of a saint or writings of Pope Francis)
9. Make simple sacrifices (give up an item of food, drinks, practice patience)
10. Pray the Stations of the Cross (privately or at 7 pm in our church on Lenten Fridays)

Here’s a prayer we can pray: Lord, you know how much I need you and depend on you. You know my weakness and my faults. I put all my confidence in your love and mercy in my daily actions. I hope to learn to trust more in your power, your promise, and your grace. Lord, I wish to start this season of Lent with a sincere desire to grow in love, loving you more, loving my family and friends more, especially reaching out to those who I am not so fond of. Therefore Lord, help me learn to change what needs to change in my life. Give me the grace to begin this Lent with great enthusiasm and love, practicing a Lenten program of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Help me live it with joy, knowing that I am living it in your presence to please you and to live in true fellowship with those around me. Amen.

Have a happy and holy Lent.

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal