He only shuts up when he is writing!
From the Pastor: Ash Wednesday And Father Vincent Coming!
As you all must certainly know by now, this Wednesday is special for two important reasons. Primarily, because it is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. We will have three Traditional Latin Masses that day, at 6:30 am, 8:00 am, and 7:00 pm, and one Novus Ordo Mass in the rectory chapel at 8:00 am. Fr. Tuoc will celebrate the chapel Mass. Fr. Mangiafico and I will assist each other at the two morning TLMs in the church, and then I will take off for a nice Lenten vacation. (I will be in a private hermitage with a bed, a bath, and a chapel. No emails, no phone calls, no meetings!) Fr. Mangiafico will then assist Fr. Vincent, who will arrive in time to celebrate the 7:00 pm TLM and then take over for me in my absence (the second reason Wednesday is important!). For those new to the TLM, it is important to know that the ashes are blessed and distributed to the people before Mass begins. We will start at the announced Mass times, so the blessing and distribution begins at 6:30 am, 8:00 am, and 7:00 pm. After the ashes are blessed, the people kneel at the altar rail and the priest marks the sign of the Cross on their foreheads saying, “Memento, homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris” (Remember, man, you are dust and to dust you shall return). After the people return to their seats, the priests wash their hands and the Mass begins. So if you arrive late, you will miss out on the ashes unless you are able to stay for the next Mass time. Let me reiterate: Ashes are blessed and imposed before Mass, not during, not after, not later in the day when you remember that it is Ash Wednesday and race to church. I am leaving town right after Mass. Fr. Mangiafico does not live in Tampa and will be returning home for the day. Fr. Vincent will not be at the parish until the evening Mass. So, if you are late for Mass you will not get ashes imposed by any of us for we will not be here! Actually, I am grouchy and ornery enough that I would probably turn you away even if I were at the parish, and, though the other two priests are far nicer, I will stress again that they will not be here. Do you get the sense that I am warning you to be on time?
Ash Wednesday is a day of both fast (1962 rules: age 21-59 inclusive) and abstinence (1962 rules: age 7 and up). Fasting means not eating. Abstinence means not eating meat. So we fast from all food for most of the day and are only allowed to eat one full but regular-sized meal, usually in the evening. No snacking is allowed but one or two small “collations” or snacks (not snacks like we normally think of them nowadays, such as candy, chips, and other junk food) can be taken if necessary but the total amount of food taken can not equal or exceed the one full, regular-sized meal you will eat later. And, of course, due to abstinence, neither of the collations nor the meal can contain meat.
Now back to Fr. Vincent. Somebody around here is a tattle-tale! They told him about the plumbing problems in the rectory and he called wondering if he was going to have to give up not just hot showers (a-la-Exodus 90) but all showers! Fortunately for him (and for you, too, I suppose!), the plumbing problems in the rectory have been fixed. But, if you remember what I told you last Sunday, we should ask for and be thankful for all the penances that God sends our way, as they all may contribute to our sanctity. So I was very thankful when, nearly as soon as the rectory plumbing was fixed, the sewage pipes near the lift station between the rectory and office began spewing raw sewage all over the ground. Taking it in stride, I invited many of you to come and try out our new “swimming pool,” but there were no takers. The city construction crews across the street have previously knocked out both our water and our internet, and this time they did something to the sewer system. According to their own representative when our plumber reported our problem and asked for any reported damage, they answered that there have been numerous calls in our area. The city sewage pipes were backing up onto our lawn, but, after supposedly checking it out, they said it was our problem, not the city’s. It took until Wednesday afternoon, but it is now fixed. Of course, the smell is still there and won’t go away until we have a really, really, good rain. But for now, even though it is all pretty dry, I wouldn’t park near the lift station if I were you. You will certainly be tracking that nasty stuff into your vehicle even in this dry weather, but if we have just a light rain you will be tracking home “fresh” stuff, too, as it rehydrates. Then again, it is almost Lent, and if you were looking for extra penance...
Oh, I forgot that I was writing about Fr. Vincent. He is taking my place while I am gone. He is a beloved, good, holy priest, and I don’t know how much free time he will have for purely social activities, but don’t hesitate to ask for his assistance in caring for any of your spiritual needs while he is here. Bringing food for him (except for on Ash Wednesday!) might be nice, too!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka