BRIDGEPORT—“Are you willing to look into the mirror and see a divided face and divided heart?” Bishop Frank J. Caggiano asked during his homily at the Ash Wednesday Mass at the Catholic Center.
Speaking before more than 50 employees who gathered for Mass and the imposition of ashes, Bishop Caggiano urged all to reflect on the duality of their witness when it comings to loving Jesus and our neighbor.
“Lent is the season to look in the mirror and ask if we have a divided heart. Do we say one thing and do another, and they never match?” he said, urging all to develop a “single heartedness and pray for each other.”
The bishop said that Lent “should be a wake-up call once a year to repent and believe in the Gospel because Jesus is the truth and the light and the way to eternal life.”
The bishop said that being unable to fully commit to others and to the Lord is “a manifestation of the heart not fully healed. Lent is all about metonia, a Greek word meaning change of the heart, turning our face from one direction to another, so that we are devoted to Christ despite the cost.”
“The 40 days of Lent are not meant as a walk in the park. They are a time of true introspection, to stand before Christ and ask for the grace to be healed,” he said.
The bishop said that when people come forward to receive their ashes today, they will hear the words, “Remember that dust you are and dust you shall return.”
“The words hit you in the face as you stand before God and ask for healing of a broken heart one step at a time.”
After Mass the bishop blessed the Lenten “Loaves and Fishes” envelopes that have been distributed around the diocese to support Catholic Charities programs serving the poor, homeless, hungry and needy of all faiths in the area.
As newly named Chairman of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the bishop also called attention to CRS Rice Bowl, the Lenten collection of international poverty relief that touches the lives of 127 million people by working to alleviate hunger and poverty.
The bishop said that in the past month CRS workers have been murdered in ambushes in Haiti and South Sudan as they brought food and other supplies to the people. He said that “they are on the front line” in their witness to the gospel.
Thousand in the diocese will be receiving ashes throughout the day in parishes and schools. Some parishes such as St. James Parish in Stratford and St. Matthew Parish in Norwalk are also bringing ashes out into businesses and other public places in the community.