February 17, 2013
To: The Clergy, Religious and Laity of the Archdiocese of New Orleans
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
Last Wednesday we began our 40-day Lenten journey. It is a sacred time when God calls us not only to recognize the goodness in our hearts, but also to face honestly those actions and attitudes in our lives that need to change in order for us to embrace more fully our call to discipleship. I encourage you individually and as a parish family to hear and respond to God’s call to conversion and new life during Lent through prayer and penance.
In the Archdiocese of New Orleans, we have designated 2013 as a “Year of Family and Faith.” Pope Benedict XVI recently reminded us that faith in Christ must be handed on within the family, and our faith must give direction to family life. After Mass today, in this spirit of “Family and Faith,” each family will be offered a booklet to be used for discussion on how we can grow stronger in family life and in a deeper relationship with Jesus. Please take one home and use it for discussion.
As we focus on “Family and Faith” this Lent, I suggest a few other things for your consideration:
1. It is an opportunity to reserve Sunday for quality time with our family and to go to Mass together.
2. For the next 40 days, perhaps we could silence our cell phones more often and shut down the computer, giving us more time as a family to talk and to pray a blessing before meals or before bedtime.
3. In order to enter into the Lenten call to conversion, perhaps our families could attend a prayer service and experience God’s gift of mercy and forgiveness.
Whatever your Lenten practices, I promise to pray for you daily that this season of repentance will help you and your family undergo a change of heart and rise to new life with Jesus as we prepare to celebrate his resurrection.
May God bless you and those whom you hold in your heart during this sacred 40-day journey.
Wishing you God’s blessings, I am
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Reverend Gregory M. Aymond
Archbishop of New Orleans