Diocese begins Lent with series of retreats, events

By Jennika Baines
Sun Associate Editor

While Catholics are always encouraged to lead lives of prayer and gratitude, Lent provides a special opportunity for spiritual reflection. Parishes throughout the Syracuse Diocese are marking the season in many different ways to help parishioners through their Lenten journey of faith.

Instead of a traditional mission, Blessed Sacrament Parish in Syracuse has opted to invite newly-ordained priests to celebrate an extra Mass on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. The Masses are followed by a simple bread and soup supper.

The priests celebrating the extra Masses include Father Chris Celentano, Father Joe O’Connor, Father Chris Ballard, Father Mike Galuppi and Father Tom Servatius.

Father Kevin Maloney, parochial vicar for Blessed Sacrament, said the parish got the idea from Father Tom Ryan, pastor of Immaculate Conception in Fayetteville.

Father Maloney said he hopes that seeing so many new priests will inspire others who may be discerning a vocation.

“Lent is that special time when we try to put aside our everyday concerns and focus on what God is calling us to in our lives. And we are being called to holiness, faith and to God,” he said.

Some of the other Lenten events in the Syracuse Diocese include the following:

Our Lady of Pompei/St. Peter in Syracuse will have a Lenten mission from March 28 to March 30. Father Norbert Jean Pierre from the Diocese of Palm Beach, Fla., will be the retreat leader. On March 30 there will also be a Northside Penance Service based on Jesus’ last words.

Holy Family Church in Fairmount will host a mission entitled “A funny thing happened to me on the way to Heaven!” from March 13 to March 15 at 7 p.m. The mission will be led by Father Jim Mazzone, a priest of the Diocese of Worcester, Mass. Father Mazzone will speak about the challenges of growing in holiness and ways to reasonably, calmly and prayerfully negotiate a way to a better and happier spiritual life.

Father Mazzone will preach at all the weekend Masses on March 12 and March 13 and, along with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, he will speak after the 9 a.m. Masses on Monday, March 14 and Tuesday, March 15.

After ordination in 1999, Father Mazzone served as associate pastor at both Christ the King and Blessed Sacrament Churches in Worcester. He has also served as an Instructor of Biblical Theology at Anna Maria College, and as a chaplain to the Worcester Fire Department, ministering at Ground Zero. Since 2005, Father Mazzone has served as the Diocese of Worcester’s vocation director and in 2007 was appointed director of the Holy Name of Jesus House of Studies in Worcester.

St. Margaret’s Church in Mattydale will host a Lenten retreat featuring Father Michael Carmola, director of Christ the King Retreat House and Conference Center, as the retreat leader. Father Carmola will speak at all of the weekend Masses on Saturday, March 12 and Sunday, March 13 and will give reflections on Monday, March 14 and Tuesday, March 15 at 7 p.m. His topic will be “Will I look back and say ‘I wish I had’ or ‘I’m glad I did?’”

St. Stephen the King Parish in Oswego started the Lenten season with a Mardi Gras party and Mardi Gras breakfast on March 4 and March 6. The Rosary Society, along with the assistance of many parishioners, will sponsor a Lenten pierogi sale. Pierogis will be offered in three varieties: cheese, cabbage and potato and cheese. The cost is $8 per dozen or two dozen for $15. Orders must be placed by 6 p.m. each Tuesday prior to the Thursday pick-up date. The pick-up dates are March 10, 17, 24 and 31, and April 7 and 14 in the church hall from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. To place an order, please call (315) 343-0350 or (315) 343-9395.

Additionally, the Altar Society will be offering a one week golabki (cabbage rolls) sale. The cost is $2.50 per golabki. Orders must be placed by Monday, March 28 and the golabki will be available for pick up in the church hall on Thursday, March 31 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. To place an order, call (315) 343-0350 or (315) 343-3584.

St. Stephen’s will also offer spiritual nourishment during the Lenten season. Stations of the Cross with a Communion service will be held at 7 p.m. on Fridays during Lent. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is available each Saturday at 3:30 p.m. prior to the 4 p.m. Mass.

St. Michael and St. Peter Parish on Onondaga Hill in Syracuse will hold a Lenten retreat presented by Father Francis Pompei, OFM. Father Pompei is a Franciscan priest from Holy Name Province who lives in Buffalo. The retreat will begin with Father Pompei preaching at all Masses on the weekend of April 2 and April 3. On Sunday, April 3, Monday, April 4 and Tuesday, April 5 the retreat will begin at 6:30 p.m in the church.

St. James Church in Syracuse hosts Lenten soup dinners every Wednesday during Lent. The dinner is free and takes place at 6 p.m. in the parish hall. A reflection follows at 7 p.m. in the daily Mass chapel. The dinners and reflections will take place March 16, 23, 30 and April 6 and 13.

St. Mary’s Church in Baldwinsville will host a Lenten retreat featuring Deacon Norman Carroll and Mary Moran from Florida. The retreat will explore the Word of God through a parish mission entitled “Accepting the Biblical Christ.” The mission will take place at 7 p.m. Monday, March 28 through Thursday, March 31. For more information, call (315) 635-5762.

Church of the Holy Family in Vernon will host the Franciscan Mystery Players from Clayton, N.Y. on Friday, March 18 at 7:30 p.m. Through the use of special lighting and sound, this performance provides a moving meditation on the sorrowful mysteries. For more information, call (315) 829-3295.

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