February 7, 2016

Dear Parishioners,

This coming Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent. The reception of the ashes is not a ritual to be taken lightly and without thought. The reception of ashes is the public manifestation of our commitment to renew the practice of our faith. In receiving the ashes, we are challenged to “reform our lives and be faithful to the Gospel.” Undertaking the ritual without taking that commitment seriously renders the liturgy empty and fruitless. So it is now, in these days before Ash Wednesday, that the Church invites us to wrestle with the questions “what?” and “how?”

“What do I need to do to reform my life and follow Jesus more faithfully?” Each of us needs to pray and reflect on this question. The answer will differ for each of us. What is the vice that has a grip on me that I need to root out of our lives? What is the virtue that I most sorely need? What are the works of mercy I could perform, but in fact avoid? Do I need to be more faithful to being at Mass every Sunday? While at Mass, do I need to truly participate – joining more fully in the prayers and hymns? Do I need to establish a regular rhythm of prayer at home? Do I need to be reconciled with a person with whom I have been in conflict? Do I need to be more generous to the “least” of my brothers and sisters as Jesus asks? Do I need to let go of envy or jealousy? Do I need to stay away from office gossip? Do I need to be more kind, to listen with more care, to be more merciful? “What do I need to do to reform my life and follow Jesus more faithfully?”

But identifying “what” I need to do is incomplete. Next I need to reflect on the question “how.” “How do I truly reform of my life? How do I take a good intention and turn it into action?” If I need to try and break a habit of turning to pornography – how? If I need to be more generous, how will I do that? If I need to arrive for Mass on time, how will I adjust my schedule to make that truly happen? If I need to nourish my spiritual life, will I block out time to come to our parish Lenten mission, or go to the stations of the cross, or read one of the classics of Christian spirituality or the new book of Pope Francis on mercy? If I need to break a habit of twisting the truth, how? The great saints often spoke of the spiritual life using the analogy of a battle. It is not enough to want to win that battle (the good intention), we need to craft a strategy to make progress in that struggle. What is my spiritual strategy? What concrete steps will I employ? How will I monitor my progress? How will I handle the almost inevitable reality that my efforts will not always succeed? What fallback strategy is available if my initial efforts falter? “How do I truly make a reform of my life? How do I take a good intention and turn it into action?”

In the wise insight of St. Thomas Aquinas, “grace builds on nature.” By identifying the “what” and the “how” we open the doors to the fuller working of God’s grace. Thus, the Church invites us to reflect on “what” we need to do and “how” we plan to do it in order to celebrate Ash Wednesday with real integrity and with good hope that this beautiful ritual will bear positive fruit. My prayer is that each and every one of us will experience a true renewal this Lent.

May Jesus, called on his hearers to reform and believe the gospel (Mark 1:15; Matthew 4:17), inspire us to take his challenge to heart. May Mary, our Mother, be our perpetual help in our struggle of ongoing renewal and deepening of our faith in her Son.

Father Craig

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2 February

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. Masses at 7:00 a.m. & 8:15 a.m. Additional bi-lingual Mass at 5:30 p.m. Bring candles to be blessed.

16 February

Mercy in the City, presented by Deacon Kevin and Molly McCarthy. 6:30 p.m. in Pastoral Center

22-26 February

Lenten Parish Mission in Spanish. Presenter: Fr. Jorge Iglesias

29 February

Morning & Evening. Lenten Parish Mission in English. Presenter: John and Sally Cojanis

1 March

Morning & Evening. Lenten Parish Mission in English. Presenter: John and Sally Cojanis

-- Bible Study

Bible Study for Young Adults (ages 18-39) - Fridays, 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. in the Pastoral Center, by Fr. Bao and Seminarian John O'Brien


Every Wednesday, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm in the Conference Center


7:00 am, 8:30 am, 10:00 am,
11:30 am, 1:00 pm (Spanish),
4:00 pm Youth,
5:30 pm (Spanish)
Val Verde Mission: 9:00 am (Spanish)
Castaic Mission: 10:30 am (English)

7:00 am & 8:15 am

8:00 am Novena & Mass
4:30 pm (Vigil)

8:45 - 10:00 am
3::30 - 4:15 pm


Church Address
23233 Lyons Avenue
Newhall, CA 91321
Pastoral Center

23045 Lyons Avenue
Newhall, CA 91321
p: 661.259.2276 | f: 661.259.1873
Office Hours
Monday-Friday 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am - 4:30 pm
Sunday 8:30 am - 3:00 pm