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February 24, 2006


Lent 2006

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Grace and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ!

The holy season of Lent which we begin this Wednesday with the marking of our foreheads with the penitential sign of ashes draws us more deeply into the mystery of Christ and His Cross. It also allows us to rediscover that His mystery is also the mystery of our lives when they are lived in union with Him through Baptism and the faithful reception of the most Holy Eucharist.

In order to help us realize more fully how the death and resurrection of Christ is the pattern of our lives and in order to help us make reparation for our sins, the Church proposes to us the traditional practices of prayer, almsgiving and fasting. Through these means it is possible for us to advance in love of God and neighbor.

In particular I ask you to give special attention this Lent to almsgiving or charity. Your great generosity has already been manifested in your response to the victims of Hurricane Katrina and other recent natural disasters. I ask you to build upon this generosity and in some way to make a sacrifice for the poor. Blessed Columba Marmion wrote about the meeting of the Lord Jesus and His Mother on the way to Calvary, "Her gaze meets His, and the abyss of the sufferings of Jesus calls upon the abyss of His Mother's compassion. What is there that she would not do for Him!" [Christ in His Mysteries, p. 274]. Let us imitate the example of Mary.

I also ask you to make a great effort to renew your devotion to Eucharistic adoration. Within this context I make a special appeal to you to pray for vocations to the Priesthood in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. We are confident that the Lord will hear our prayer and grant us the holy and faithful priests we need in our local church.

Sincerely in Christ,

Cardinal Justin Rigali
Archbishop of Philadelphia

Meredith V. Wilson
Communications Specialist

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