Immaculate Conception Church Washington, DC
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Lent 2016

My dear Parishioners and Friends,

These forty days of Lent afford us an annual opportunity to reflect seriously on the Passion of the Lord as it relates to our own lives. Since life is so fragile, we should never take for granted our dear family and friends or the many liberties which our nation affords us. Rather, we thank almighty God for all of these blessings which He has lavishly poured out upon us as individuals, as a nation, and as a Church. In short, we count our blessings and recognize that Jesus did not promise his disciples a rose garden but, instead, a cross. “If anyone wishes to follow after me, let him take up his cross and follow in my footsteps.” So, this is in part what we are doing this Lent as Catholics and as Americans: We are taking up our cross and following in His footsteps; we are also helping others to take up their crosses. Consider the many people along the Way of the Cross who assisted Jesus on that first Good Friday: the women of Jerusalem who offered Jesus comfort, Simon the Cyrene who was merely passing by and lifted the heavy burden off Jesus’ shoulders, Veronica who wiped the sweat and blood from the Master’s face, Joseph of Arimathea who provided his own tomb for Jesus’ burial, and Mary and John who prayed at the foot of the cross. All of these characters played a vital role in Jesus’ Passion, and their charity is, without doubt, fondly remembered by our Lord.

Spring is supposed to return to us; I know it may be hard to believe that because of all of the cold and snow; but if you can believe that spring will come despite the clear evidence to the contrary right now, we believe that life will come from the clear evidence of death. May you be blessed today and throughout Lent as we journey with the Lord Jesus towards Calvary --- and then into the garden of Easter resurrection! Thank you all for your continued support and generosity to the parish. As a family of faith, we grow in love for our Lord who has loved us with an everlasting love. God bless you all. In His divine Love and with a father's care, I am

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Rev. Msgr. James D. Watkins