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Lent 2024

Bishop Raica releases episode no. 46 of Grace & Peace

On Feb. 8, Bishop Raica recorded the 46th episode of his video series, Grace & Peace. The episode features the bishop’s thoughts on Lent 2024. The complete text of the bishop’s remarks follows herein.

My sisters and brothers, grace and peace to you during this Lenten season. By now, we have begun an amazing journey of renewal. In my last episode, I devoted some time to the notion of almsgiving and charity. It is a way of expressing solidarity with those with special needs to lift them up. Today, I am focusing my attention on prayer.

As often as I read the Gospels, it strikes me, especially, that the Lord went up frequently to the mountain or to the desert to pray. He prayed alone, sometimes with others. He seemed to be in constant communication with His Heavenly Father. Perhaps, that is the reason why He admonished His followers, “Pray always!”

Some years ago, I remember a staffer telling me that she wanted to do something special for the parish to help out. The pastor told her to visit people in a nearby residential high-rise. As she went from door to door talking with the people that she met along the way, she noted that those who believed were more at peace with themselves than those who were not believers. Those who believed, even when living alone, seemed to have a companion accompanying them on the journey of life.

Surely, our Lord, our Blessed Mother, and our patronal saints walk with us. We are never alone. During this Lenten season, we, too, are invited to intensify our prayer and increase our awareness of the power of a daily prayer routine, even if most of what we do is listen and be attentive and alert to our surroundings. Many during the season pray the Rosary, asking to be guided on the journey of life by our Blessed Mother, recounting the mysteries of our Lord's life. Others celebrate the Way of the Cross to recall with ever greater vigor the final path our Lord took to the crucifixion out of love for us: we enter into His suffering, His mind, His relationships with His mother, with Veronica, with Simon of Cyrene, the Roman soldiers, and also with the loneliness and abandonment He felt on the way.

A prized prayer is a celebration of the Eucharist during this cherished season of Lent. During this time of Eucharistic revival, we can find ourselves in front of the Eucharist in adoration, actively participating during the Mass and growing in our faith through the reception of Holy Communion. Thereby, we unite ourselves to the Lord's death and resurrection in which we, too, are charged, “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.”

Finally, our prayers can be from our heart - lengthy or short; for ourselves or for others; for noble causes as healing and peace among nations or truly personal prayers as we recall a member of our family who is sick, near death, experiencing a difficult pregnancy; for those having difficulties in relationships; for vocations to the priesthood or religious life; for reconciliation with family members, for current situations you experience such as patience while driving during peak times, for consolation, for someone in trouble because of the sirens we hear passing by. Simply put we can say, “Lord, be with them. I beg You in my prayer, lift them up. May Your will be done.” For this reason, I invite you to deepen your prayer life. It is a conversation with God. It is a conversation with a friend Who is constantly reaching out to us.

My dear friends, we are truly blessed that the Lord comes to us, that He accompanies us, that He wants only what will lead us to fullness of life with Him. May God bless you and keep you always, especially during this Lenten season.