Dear Parishioners,

In Ancient Israel, an individual with leprosy or any other skin malady was seen to be spiritually unclean. It was thus required for the infirm to go before a priest, be quarantined by the priest, and then ultimately be declared by the priest fit for worship. This is what we hear in our first reading from Leviticus, chapter 13.

Jesus continues this injunction when orders the healed leper to report to the priest (cf. Mk 1:40-45).

These readings can be seen as foundational for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Today's responsorial psalm also sets up the Catholic sacrament: “Then I acknowledged my sin to you, my guilt I covered not. I said, ‘I confess my faults to the LORD’, and you took away the guilt of my sin” (Ps 32).

You see, leprosy is symbolic for sin. Those of us today who have sinned cannot be cured or declared clean on our own. We need help. We need to go before a priest. We receive, through the priest, God's mercy and healing.

Perhaps we can think about this week, or this Lent, partaking of the great Sacrament of Confession.

Last weekend at all the Masses we conducted the in-pew solicitation for the 2018 Annual Catholic Appeal. This is the “Follow-Up Weekend.” Saint Juliana's goal is $53,018. Please help us meet this goal by making a pledge. The Appeal benefits parishes in need, faith formation for children and adults, peace-making in troubled neighborhoods, the formation of ministers who serve the Church, and–through Catholic Relief Services–people who suffer throughout the world because of natural disasters and war. Thank you for your contribution, and for allowing our parish and the Archdiocese to follow Jesus.

Teen Ministry is today, Sunday, February 11th at 5pm! All teens are welcome for Mass and then afterwards in the Ahearn Center for a little faith discussion and open gym. We'll have free pizza, sponsored by Holt's in Park Ridge, and gift cards for all who attend. Parents, please encourage your high school students to attend.

Please drop off your old palms in the back of the church this weekend. We will have a palm burning ceremony tomorrow, Monday, at 8:10am in the parking lot. The burning of last year's palms from Palm Sunday is what the Church uses for Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. Ash Wednesday is, of course, this Wednesday, February 14th. The 7am, 8:30am, and 7pm Masses will all be in the church. Our parish's Lenten book, Broken Mary by Kevin Matthews, will be released on Ash Wednesday, so be sure to take your free copy. Kevin Matthews will be coming to St. Juliana to discuss his book on Sunday, March 4th–save the date for this very exciting event!

We will have Eucharist Adoration every Friday in Lent. Stations of the Cross will also be every Friday in Lent, following the 8:30am Mass and then again at 6pm. Benediction—the ceremony to conclude the period of Eucharistic Adoration–will be at 8:45pm.

My Tuesday Theology Talks resume this Tuesday. Our discussion will be on the Crusades and the Inquisition. All are invited to the Ministry Center Chapel at 7pm for the one hour talk.

My prayers are with you during this Lenten season. I hope it is a holy one for you, and that you find time every day to spend some quiet time in prayer with our Lord.

Yours in Christ,
Father James

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