Dear Friends of Saint Ann Shrine,
On February 14, we celebrate Valentine’s Day. It is a wonderful opportunity to openly express our love and appreciation to special people who enrich our lives. In the weeks leading up to the festive day, we see red hearts everywhere enticing us to open our hearts not only to family and friends, but also to people we hardly know and whom we would ordinarily shy away from. However, as people baptized in Jesus Christ and members of God’s family, we also know that we should always have a heart wide open to everyone, even strangers and immigrants to our country.
Imagine for a moment that the crucifix in your home or at the end of your rosary or in your parish church were suddenly to become a giant red heart, and a gentle voice would say to you: YOU (your name) are my valentine. I give you all my life, all my love, all my forgiveness and all my unequivocal acceptance forever. Will you give ME your heart also? This is the kind of question we need to answer daily, especially as we enter the season of Lent.
Jesus was born among us to make visible the Sacred Heart of the invisible God, creator of all life. However, being human like us, Jesus was subject to the same temptations we have, and needed to make difficult choices between good and evil, right and wrong, whether to act morally or immorally, to be selfish or selfless, to give in to sin or to choose God and his powerful grace, just as each of us must.
After all, almost everyone is inclined and tempted to lie, to cheat, to show prejudice, to be angry and violent, to act unjustly, to feel superior, to break promises, to refuse forgiveness and to hold on to feelings of hurt and betrayal, etc….BUT, and this is a big BUT …through our baptism in Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit, we too, like Jesus are armed with the spiritual power of grace to say NO and so imitate, in these our little victories, the power of Jesus acting in our lives.
On Ash Wednesday and throughout Lent, we are all challenged to Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel. Let us take up that challenge and with the Grace of God always available to us in Prayer and in the Eucharist, we will be better able to resist sin in our lives and give a more honest answer to the question: What power or what God is in charge of my life? To whom have I given my heart? Make Jesus, your Valentine!
Don’t forget to return the enclosed prayer intention piece, and whatever donation you may be able to offer to help support Saint Ann’s Shrine, our retired priests and brothers, and the continuing education of future religious.
Yours in Jesus Eucharistic,
Fr. Roger Bourgeois, SSS
*We invite you and your group to join us at Saint Ann’s Shrine for Daily Mass at 11:30AM, Monday-Friday (please call ahead for Holidays).
*The Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament offers a daily devotion/reflection. If you’d like to receive this uplifting message, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Your loved ones can be remembered during Mass at Saint Ann’s Shrine. Call 440-449-2700 for details.
*Our Blessed Sacrament religious in Bethany and at Regina Health Center pray for you daily. Please let us know of any special intentions you’d like us to remember. The Blessed Sacrament Community supports you in prayer and Eucharist. You can submit your prayer though our website and request a candle to be lit for your special intentions at st-ann-shrine.org.
*We have Rosaries, Statues, Blessed Oil and Holy Water available for a donation. Contact Saint Ann Shrine at 440-449-2700 or visit our website at st-ann-shrine.org.
*If you are 70 ½ years of age or older, you can support Saint Ann’s Shrine or the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament through distributions from your Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Your IRA Charitable Rollover Gift may satisfy your annual required minimum distribution and reduce your taxable income. Consult your financial advisor for the most advantageous opportunities for you.
*The article below includes wonderful information and suggestions how you can support Saint Ann’s Shrine and the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament in ways that can benefit you and your philanthropic giving: https://www.fidelitycharitable.org/guidance/philanthropy/donating-retirement-assets-to-charity
Posted on February 10, 2023 by Scott Gongos