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February 8, 2005

CARDINAL RIGALI'S LENTEN MESSAGE
TO THE PEOPLE OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF PHILADELPHIA

Below is Cardinal Justin Rigali's Lenten Letter communicated to the people of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia on February 5th and 6th. Please feel free to quote from the letter or to print it in its entirety.



Lent 2005

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

These forty days of Lent, which are marked by prayer, fasting and almsgiving, bring us to the threshold of the heart of the Church=s year - the Paschal Triduum. They are days in which we recall with renewed devotion our sharing in the saving death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

The Church, in her wisdom and solicitude for us, sets aside these next six weeks to help us prepare to celebrate the Lord=s death and resurrection worthily, to renew our participation in this mystery through our baptism, and to make amends for our sins through penance. The Church invites us to have a true spirit of conversion, renewing our faith in the mercy of God and the power of His sanctifying grace in our lives.

In a special manner, the Church places before us the intimate connection between conversion of life, the Sacrament of Penance, and the Eucharist. Pope John Paul II wrote so beautifully in his recent encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, AThe two sacraments of the Eucharist and Penance are very closely connected. Because the Eucharist makes present the redeeming sacrifice of the Cross, perpetuating it sacramentally, it naturally gives rise to a continuous need for conversion, for a personal response to the appeal made by Saint Paul to the Christians of Corinth: AWe beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God@ [ 2 Cor 5: 20] (Ecclesia de Eucharistia 37).

I wish to assure you and your family of my prayerful support and encouragement during these days of Lent, asking the Lord to give you grace to deepen your willingness to follow Him with an ever more generous heart.







Contact
Marie Kelly
Associate Director
215-587-3747

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