To the parishioners of St. Philip Neri Parish, sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints –

“Grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”.

A Lenten Question: Do I truly believe that “WHO I am is God’s gift to me? WHAT I make of myself is my gift back to God and to others?”

One of the stories (parable) in the scriptures this week is about a rich man (living in comfort) and Lazarus (living in dis-comfort). Lazarus sits each day outside the gate of the rich man, hoping for a gesture of compassion. Now, one gets the impression that the rich man is not mean or cruel, that is, he doesn’t chase Lazarus away or harass him … he just ignores him. His treatment is worse than indifferent – he steps over Lazarus as he would step over a stick in the doorway. He treats him as a non-person – Lazarus is invisible to him! Even the dogs show better concern for Lazarus, licking his sores and paying some attention to him.

The story goes on to describe Lazarus “in Heaven” – “carried away by the angels to be with Abraham”. The rich man is “in Hades, where he was being tormented”. In his torment, he pleads to Lazarus “to dip the tip of his finger in water to cool his tongue”. He even goes on to plead for his brothers still “at home” – to plead for them a warning, to live life differently than what he had lived with others. The moral of the story – when we fail to see each other as a “gift from God”, we can easily give ourselves permission to not only be indifferent, but also cruel. Today’s attitudes and behaviours (often vividly described on the evening news) reflects the racism and inner violence and hatred in people’s hearts.

Lent is our opportunity to reflect. “How and to whom have I hardened my heart”? It’s also an opportunity to heighten our awareness – and treatment – of each other. Every person I encounter each day is God’s gift to me – made in His image and likeness. Each person, each encounter, gives me an occasion to give praise and glory to God. Our “AMEN” at the Eucharist confirms my attitude of compassion and acceptance … that “what I have made of myself – my character, my personality, my spiritual integrity – is my gift back to others.

Praise be Jesus Christ … and Mary Immaculate

St. Philip Neri … pray for us

St. Eugene de Mazenod … pray for us

St. Kateri Tekakwitha … pray for us

God is good … all the time.

Fr. Mike Dechant OMI

Something from the Parish:

Mark your calendar:

  • On March 14 (7 pm), St. Philip Neri Parish will gather for our Lenten Penitential Service. Come and experience the forgiveness and healing of our loving God.
  • Each Friday during Lent, let’s gather to reflect on Jesus’ journey – “The Stations of the Cross” – beginning with prayer at 5 pm, followed by food and friendship. NOTE: The cash donation each week will go to supplement the costs of the Women’s Retreat.
  • On Friday-Saturday, May 5–6, the women of St. Philip Neri Parish are invited to gather for a Women’s Retreat. Through scripture, music, ritual and reflection, the Retreat Team will invite you to reflect on how each “Season of Life” can be enriching, challenging and an opportunity to draw closer to God.

Sincerely, Fr Mike Dechant, OMI