Father Larry's Letters

"Father Larry's Letters" are a weekly letter/journal about the many events occurring within and around the St. Luke's community.

Ashes on Foreheads - Beginning the Lenten Journey

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

And now we are into March. The first two days, there was light snow. The month was trying to come like a lion. But fortunately, now it is back to wonderful temperatures again.

I appreciated Deacon Fred preaching 2/25 and 2/26. It is nice to have a break from preparing the weekend homily once a month or so.

On Monday 2/27, I joined several of my brothers and sisters to surprise our sister Connie and her birthday. She and her husband are part of a seniors bowling league in Council Bluffs and we all showed up in the middle of their games to give her a bad time and to wish her a Happy Birthday. It was not too bad a time, The won all three of their games. That evening, I returned for the regular Knights of Columbus meeting in the Gym.

Tuesday after the morning mass, the study group again met and this time we discussed the sacraments of service - Holy Orders and Matrimony. I enjoyed telling stories of my experience of this sacrament. The others in the group could share highlights from their experience as married couples.

That evening we gathered to celebrate Mardi Gras. The Knights prepared and served pancakes and sausages that were enjoyed by a good number of families. The children then did liturgical scavenger hunts, make masks, earned strings of beads and then joined in a Mardi Gras parade with appropriate music. Then I had to leave for the RCIA session. There we talked about Lent and Ash Wednesday and prepared for the Rite of Election to be held on Sunday March 5 at St. Ambrose.

Wednesday March 1 was Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. There was a good crowd of adults joining the school students for the 8:30 pm Mass and blessing and distribution of Ashes. That evening for the 6:30 pm Mass, the church was very full with people in the Narthex. It is great to see this many people wanting to begin this season of prayer, fasting and almsgiving as they prepare for Easter.

Thursday March 2, I finished my talk for the Lutheran/Catholic gathering to be held at the Hope Lutheran Church in Ankeny. That afternoon, I attended the Priests Personnel for its regular meeting with Bishop Pates. As board members, we advise the bishop in the upcoming and possible assignment for the coming summer.

That evening after mass, I hurried to the Lutheran/ Catholic gathering. We enjoyed their Lasagna and nice worship music. I then gave my reflection on the last Imperative from the document “From Conflict to Communion” prepared for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

Friday was another catch up day getting ready for the weekend liturgies. I enjoyed the St. Mary’s Elkhart Fish Fry. So did lots of St. Luke’s families too! After that I joined the Primetimers at a Wine Tasting at HyVee. It was very enjoyable.

Saturday after mass, I went to the Catholic Charities St. Patrick’s Gala. It was a wonderful evening where I was given an award for support of Catholic Charities through the years. Nice.

At the weekend masses, we conducted the 1st round of the Annual Diocesan Appeal. Alpha had its last session at Noon. Then I went to the Rite of Election for our Candidates for Full Communion at St. Ambrose. That filled up the week. May all of you be blessed this Lent.

Fr. Larry Hoffmann