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First Sunday of Lent

February 18, 2018


My Dear Friends,

With our wonderful St. Paul Fest and powerful Ash Wednesday liturgies behind us, we have begun Lent in earnest.  For these 40 days of Lent, we will turn our minds and hearts to the Lord, asking Him to purify us so that we may be worthy of the promises of Easter.  The traditional pillars of Lent are prayer, fasting, and works of charity.  I encourage you to take time to really listen and take to heart what God is calling you to do this year.

Prayer.  How can we grow closer to God?  Pray every day.  Remember it is quality that counts.  Prayerfully meditate on a few paragraphs of the Bible each day.  If possible come to the church to pray.  If you are not participating at Mass each weekend do so!  If you are, make a pledge to come to daily Mass as often as you can.  Eucharistic Adoration is a wonderful way to super-charge your spiritual life.  We adore the Lord every Wednesday and Thursday (8am-9pm), and Friday (24 hours).  During Lent, we offer the Stations of the Cross at 3pm and 7pm every day.  Last but not least, go to confession at least once a month.  We all need the grace and healing!

Fasting.  It is very clear that we are out of control.  Fasting helps develop self-discipline while placing ourselves in solidarity with those in need.  Fasting also helps us to be more aware of all the blessings we have received.  In the Bible, it is also evident that fasting “supersizes” our prayers.  When it comes to abstinence, our wonderful Knights make it a bit easier with their delicious Lenten Dinners each Friday from 5-7pm.  Afterwards, join us for the Stations of the Cross.  This Friday, after the Stations, I’ll be present for a special “Ask Fr. Bill” Question and Answer Session.  I can’t promise I’ll have answers but it is sure to be interesting!

Works of Charity.  As I mentioned in my homily a few weeks ago, one of the hallmarks of Catholicism is our care for those in need.  For us Christians, care for the poor and those in need is not optional.  It is mandated by the Lord.  This week our Society of St. Vincent de Paul is handing out food bags.  Please fill it with the items on the list.  Remember that the items must be new (not out of date) and imperishable.  Many of our families also participate in the annual Rice Bowl Project by Catholic Relief Services.  Another great way to show your care and concern for those in need is by completing your pledge to the Annual Pastoral Appeal.  Remember, your donation helps shelter the homeless, clothe the poor, feed the hungry, and assist those most in need.  Thank you for your generous pledge!

To help you, this year we are distributing copies of Jon Leonetti’s book “The Art of Getting Over Yourself” and for those who speak Spanish, Matthew Kelly’s “Los cuatros signos de un Católico Dinámico.”  I think you will really enjoy them.  Please take one book per family. 

Last but not least, today we will send 20 men, women, teens, and children who wish to be baptized at the Easter Vigil to our Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle for the Rite of Election.  Another 38 will also be fully initiated through the Sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Communion.  Please keep them all in your prayers.  May they continue to open their hearts to the love and mercy of our good and gracious God!

Growing together as disciples of Christ,





Fr. Bill Swengros, Pastor






New online Bible Study 

with Fr. Bill  

For all Facebook and website followers.  We have started reading the Gospel of Matthew.



Online Book Study with Father Bill We are studying Jon Leonetti’s book “The Art of Getting Over Yourself and why you’ll be happier when you do.”  one chapter every three or four days. If you’re interested in joining this study, be sure to send Fr. Bill a friend request on Facebook. Free copies of the book are available in the narthex of St. Paul Catholic Church, Tampa. 


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