From the Pastor- March 8, 2020

The coronavirus has dominated the news as well as people’s lives. It has affected activities around the world.Public events are cancelled, gatherings or large crowds are discouraged, airlines have cancelled flights to China andelsewhere, and Japan has closed schools for a month. Commerce between nations has been affected and peopleare cautious about how they move from place to place. The last time the world was affected by something like thisit was the SARS virus, which also affected people’s lives and their movements. The coronavirus is scary becausewe don’t know who has the virus, or where they have traveled in the world. The CDC is working on creating avaccine. There are also labs around the country, including one here in New Jersey, working on it too. Hopefully,they will develop a vaccine relatively soon. It is incredible how all of this has affected all of us world-wide. Last week, we were in the desert. Today we are on the mountain. The Gospel for the Second Sunday of Lent isalways the Transfiguration. It is a reminder that after Lent comes Easter, and after death comes resurrection. ThisGospel is intended to give us a sense of hope about the Season of Lent. It also gave the apostles the opportunityto experience the transforming experience of Jesus that would change their lives. This experience is also meant tochange our lives, so that we are able to live with hope about the present, as well as the future.In the Middle Ages, Lent was such a serious time that penance imposed on people tended to be severe. This wasto remind them that there had to be a radical change in their lives if they wanted to be prepared to celebrate theGreat Feast and Season of Easter with heart, mind, spirit, and body renewed. While the season is not as severe asin ages past, Lent is still a serious time to improve our relationship with God and each other by stripping away allthat prevents us from experiencing His life in ours. This should be a life-long process, which is highlighted duringLent. Lent is not so much about what we give up as much as it is about how we can become a better sign ofChrist in our lives. Last Sunday, at the Rite of Sending at the 9:00AM Mass, ANNE MARIE CATTANE and ADIN SOTO weresent to Cardinal Tobin at the Cathedral Basilica in Newark for the Rite of Election. They were called or “elected”to celebrate the Easter Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil. They are now theELECT, and I look forward to welcoming them into the fullness of life in our parish. Their names are listed inthe Book of the Elect next to the Baptismal Font. CONGRATULATIONS, ANNE MARIE & ADIN!  HAPPY LENT!!~ Fr. Joe