BRIDGEPORT—“Don’t begin Lent without making a conscious choice toward conversion,” Bishop Frank Caggiano said to about 75 Catholic Center staff and guests who gathered for Ash Wednesday Mass in Queen of Saints Hall.
In his Ash Wednesday homily, the Bishop said the Church asks three things of Catholics during Lent, “ to spend our days in prayer, to perform acts of mortification and penance, and to do works of charity,” in particular to serve those who are struggling in our midst.
“Love them in their struggles. Help them to remember they are not forgotten, and that they are lovable and they are loved,” the Bishop said of all those who are poor, afflicted and suffering in our own communities.
Noting that ashes “are the byproducts of the burning of palms,” the Bishop said that ashes are reminders that no matter how much money, power, or glory that people accumulate, “it all ends up a pile of ashes.”
“During Lent we are asked to remember that what really matters is what really lasts—and that is the love and redemptive power of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, because it has eternal value.”
The Bishop said that we wear ashes as a sign of our own failures because we often “put something else into the center of our lives other than Christ’s redeeming love.”
Describing Lent as a “40-day journey, the Church asks us to walk,’ the Bishop said it is a hopeful one because “Ashes lead to the empty tomb and the victory of love.”
Prior to the Mass, Fr. Charles Allen, S.J. ,Special Assistant to the President of Fairfield University, provided a Lenten reflection, “Rejoicing that we are a sinful people now saved by Christ.”
Referencing the statement of Pope Francis on the “the globalization of indifference” Fr. Allen said that ashes remind us that we’re all sinners, and better able to reach out to those who are wounded and lost because of our own human frailties.
The Employee Retreat was planned by the Faith Formation Office of the Diocese of Bridgeport.