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Final Days of Lent

Dear friends in Christ,

In a few weeks, on Easter Sunday, Pope Francis will deliver an Urbi et Orbi (To
the City and the World) address from Saint Peter’s Basilica. At this time, he will make
particular mention of places around the world experiencing hardship and violence.
Ukraine will undoubtedly be on his mind, but also other areas that don’t get as much
attention in the news: Armenia, Nigeria, and Afghanistan to name a few. He is able to
take a global vision of things because the Church and her ministers and charities are
present in some fashion just about everywhere on earth.

The experience of violence is also closer to home, lived by our neighbors, families,
and friends both openly and in silent pain. In all prayers for peace, we look to Christ
as the Great Physician to help us heal. So many people in our day carry the burden of
trauma. The slow recovery from an experience of violence is common to many
among us – perhaps many more than we realize. We can all be an essential part of
recovery with the simplest acts of courtesy.

For example, the word ‘no’ is acceptable as an answer to a question or request.
Knowing that our mission is to propose, rather than impose, our acceptance of it
allows someone feeling generally nervous for their safety as a result of a traumatic
experience to feel comfortable. If someone’s hesitance, refusal, or seeming rejection
pains us with behavior we do not understand, let us pray to hold in our hearts grace
for those in deep spiritual pain. In imitation of our patron Saint Francis de Sales, we
can invite them gently, consistently, and with forbearance as Jesus invites us into a
closer relationship with him, especially in these final days of Lent.

May God be Blessed!
–Father Eric Banecker