Father Matthias M. Sasko of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate will be our guest officiator for the English retreat. The Franciscan Friars are a world-wide Marian-Franciscan Religious Congregation. They were founded in 1990 in order to continue in the Church the Marian-Franciscan charism of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe, which is that of conquering the whole world for Christ through Mary Immaculate. Fr. Matthias M. Sasko has been a member of the Congregation since 2005. He was ordained a priest in 2013. He is currently assigned to Our Lady Chapel in New Bedford, MA.
Our English Lenten Retreat begins on Saturday evening, March 3rd and ends on Wednesday evening, March 7th.
Our Lenten retreat was held at the Sacred Heart Church worship site with Father Matthias Sasko, a Franciscan Friar of the Immaculate, officiating. The service began with the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and the singing of a hymn. Those in attendance sang the Lenten Lamentations with Father Stan leading.
Father Sasko set the theme of the Lenten Retreat: “Stay close to Mary as she leads us to Jesus.” Pope Francis described Mary as the one who can “undo the knots” that are the obstacles to grace. According to Father Sasko, there are four principle knots:
1.) Not going to confession
2.) Going but not making a sincere confession or omitting some sins
3.) Not attending Mass regularly
4.) Refusal to forgive our neighbors; making it impossible for God to forgive us
Tonight’s sermon focused on confession and how to make a more complete and honest one. How do we make a good confession? Father Matthias recommended the following:
1.) Examine your conscience sincerely
2.) Feel sincere sorrow for offending God
3.) Have a firm purpose of amendment not to sin again
4.) Approach confession knowing what mortal sins are and confessing them, confess old ones you may have forgotten before, and confess venial sins that are constantly repeated
5.) Make penance
Father Sasko’s final thoughts: Resolve to confess more frequently and allow our lady to free us from our knots!!
The evening ended with Benediction.
Our second evening of the Lenten Retreat began with the Lenten Lamentation. That included an exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, an opening prayer, and singing of hymns as we did on the first evening. Father Matthias Sasko continued our reflections on the theme of untying the knots that keep us from grace. Yesterday, he discussed the first two that were related to confession. Tonight he elaborated on the third knot: Not attending Sunday Mass or not attending on a regular basis.
Although Father Sasko indicated he was “preaching to the choir”, he suggested we might share this reflection with others who may benefit. In addition, perhaps Catholics don’t understand the importance of Mass or how they might “get more” out of Mass. The sacrifice of the cross is accessible to us through the Mass. Furthermore, the sacraments are the place where we can experience the presence of God. Not going to Mass says we want to be near God, but not that close. We have other things to do. We say we are unable to attend, but Father Sasko says that means we are really unwilling to go.
At the Last Supper, Jesus changed the bread and wine to His body and blood. This miracle happens each time there is a Mass. By receiving communion, that is enough to make us closer to God. To receive communion fruitfully we have to fulfill these conditions:
Father gave one final thought on this knot: Spiritual life never stands still. It is always moving either backwards of forwards. Let’s all move in the right direction!
The evening ended with benediction.
Our third evening of the Lenten Retreat began with the Lenten Lamentations. That included an exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, an opening prayer, and singing of hymns as we did on the first evening. Father Matthias Sasko continued our reflections on the theme of untying the knots that keep us from grace. The four knots (obstacles) included confession, attending Mass, and forgiving our enemies. Tonight he concluded the reflections with specific suggestions on how we can forgive our enemies and actually pray for their conversion.
Father Sasko referred to several examples in the Bible that support how important to God it is that we forgive: the prodigal son, searching for the one lost sheep among 99 others, and how Peter denied Jesus three times and yet became a saint and the first Pope. If we want God to forgive us and our sins, we must be willing to honestly forgive others. Father continued by stating that sometimes we feel there are people who are just not loveable or compatible. They are not really our enemies but we treat them as such. So how do we love and pray for those who have hurt us? We can forgive them, love them, and pray for them even if we don’t like them because of the choices they make and the way they treat us.
Father Sasko had several practical suggestions that answer the question: How do we forgive?
1.) Acknowledge the hurt and pain- Pray to God about that pain and everything that happened.
2.) Remember that God has forgiven us- Remember that our neighbors have forgiven us.
3.) Put yourself in the shoes of the offendant – Think about how it felt when you were forgiven.
4.) Let go of the pain- When we withhold forgiveness, the pain stays. Tell God you want to forgive.
5.) Continue to forgive- Memories and pain will come back so continue to forgive.
Finally, Father Sasko helped us learn how to pray for the person who needs forgiveness.
1.) Remember the enemy is a real person. Pray for the conversion of your enemy.
2.) Pray that the evil done to us is diminished.
3.) Be careful about telling God how to administer justice to this person. Do not look for revenge. Let God handle that.
Father Sasko ended his homily with this advice: Do not let evil conquer you, but conquer evil with good. He also reminded us that we need to pray to Mary to undo our knots and bring us closer to her Son.
The evening ended with Benediction and Father Stan thanking Father Sasko for his willingness to come to our parish for our Lenten Retreat.
Outdoor Stations of the Cross will begin on Tuesday, March 13, at 6:00 PM starting at Christ the King and proceeding to Sacred Heart. After the conclusion, please join us for soup, salad and bread in the Sacred Heart auditorium. In case of inclement weather, we will gather at Sacred Heart Worship Site at 6:00PM.
Father Pawel Drobot, C.ss.R. will be the celebrant for the Polish Retreat. The dates are March 18th through March 21st and Sacred Heart Church. Father Pawel is coming to the United States from Krakow, Poland, where he is the director of the Redemptorist Spiritual Center. While in the US, he will also be visiting and preaching in Perth Amboy and Chicago, Illinois.
Christ the Redeemer Parish is proud to present our new parish App. We believe it will serve to deepen your faith and at the same time have all the parish information at your fingertips.
Here is why you will want to have the CTR Parish App.
- It provides you with easy to obtain and up-to-the-minute parish information.
- The PDF version of the bulletin is published before the paper version of it is available.
- A palette of much-loved prayers and devotions.
- Daily biblical readings to follow and pray over.
- Newsfeeds from trustworthy Catholic sources.
- Easy access to on-line giving.
- The ability to receive any notifications from the parish office or any chosen (by you) group or ministry. All you have to do is launch the parish App, and then in the upper left corner, touch the menu button and then touch notifications. You will see all the groups that you can subscribe to and will receive all the notices on your phone sent from the group or groups you have chosen. You can unsubscribe at any time.
- Our parish calendar with detailed information about Masses and any scheduled activities.
To download the CTR Parish Mobile App:
• iPhone users: Text CTRP1 to 555888 OR search for “Christ the Redeemer Parish” in the iPhone App Store.
• Android users: Text CTRP2 to 555888 OR search for “Christ the Redeemer Parish” in the Google Play Store.