This is the holiest time of year for Catholics. Lent,

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1 IN THIS ISSUE Lenten Practices: Penance and Abstinence A Great Opportunity for Our Whole Parish Community to Come Together, to Pray Together Our Queen of Peace Lenten Mission Feb RCIA: Bringing Hearts Home A Place to Belong The Dingle Family FEBRUARY 2016 A Letter From Our Pastor Lent A Time of Preparation, Introspection and Conversion Dear Parishioners, This is the holiest time of year for Catholics. Lent, of course, officially begins on Ash Wednesday. Most of us are familiar with the traditional Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Those are important in relation to repentance, renewal and mercy. Everything we do should remind us that Lent is a penitential season. In the midst of this serious time, however, we must keep in mind that the word Lent comes from a Middle English word, which means springtime, and the time of lengthening of days. When we think springtime, our thoughts tend to be lighter and brighter. That is how we need to view Lent, just as we recognize the joy, colors and brightness of Easter. Lent is more than a time to give up something. It is also a time to add something, to take action in our faith in ways that make it more meaningful and real. We should still make sacrifices we need to consider that while sacrifices may mean denying ourselves something, they can also mean we are replacing that denial with a positive action. Acts of service and mercy are changes we can make in our lives. continued on page 7

2 QUEEN OF PEACE CATHOLIC COMMUNITY Lenten Practices: Penance and Abstinence For many Catholics, the practice of fasting and abstinence during Lent is as much a part of our faith as is our sacred liturgy. Catholics know that when Lent arrives, it s time to say goodbye to meat on Fridays and hello to fish sticks and bean burritos. It s almost as if our Lenten obligations were hard-wired into our biological clock at the moment we were baptized. If there is one thing that Catholics definitely understand, it s adhering to the laws of tradition. Indeed, the tradition of fasting and abstaining from meat during Lent draws its lineage from the early days of the faith. But why, exactly, do we fast and abstain from meat during Lent? And what are the Church s guidelines for this tradition? In November 1966, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a pastoral statement on penance and abstinence. The statement outlines the Scriptural significance behind fasting and abstinence, and directs the faithful on when it is encouraged and appropriate to do so. According to the statement, there are four main points the Church wants to make about the tradition of penance and abstinence. First, all humans are sinners. Second, penance and abstinence are ways to turn away from sin and back to God. Third, the Church is constantly in a stage of ongoing renewal and penance. And finally, Advent, Lent and the vigils of certain feasts are the primary penitential seasons of the Church. The statement makes clear that the practices of penance and abstinence are tools created to help lead us to Christ they are not stringent laws designed to cause discomfort and pain. Fasting, abstinence and penance help us to reflect on, 2 and in some way understand, the suffering and selflessness our Lord experienced during His passion and death. Traditionally, Catholics must abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday, which falls on Feb. 10 this year, and Good Friday, falling this year on March 25. And, because Christ died on a Friday, the Church asks us to also abstain from meat on all Fridays during the season of Lent. Lent is also a time of penance. In preparation for Jesus death and resurrection, the Church encourages all Catholics to seek forgiveness from sins and to renew their spirits in accordance with the Father s spirit. The overarching goal of all Christians is to become one with the Father, and penance and abstinence help us attempt to do that. But Lent isn t just about what we aren t allowed to do. The Church encourages us all to seek ways to alleviate the pain and suffering of others just as Christ lifted the burden of sin from the spirit of humankind by special solicitude for the sick, the poor, the underprivileged, the imprisoned, the bedridden, the discouraged, the stranger, the lonely, and persons of other color, nationalities, or backgrounds than our own (Pastoral Statement on Penance and Abstinence, 15). This Lent, as the world prepares for the anniversary of Christ s death and resurrection, take on a few Lenten practices of your own. In addition to abstaining from meat on Fridays and Ash Wednesday, find a way to share the love of Christ with others through gifts of time, talent and treasure. The life of a disciple, as outlined in the Gospels, requires a renewed heart and a penitent soul. Seek to understand this Lent, in some small way, the magnitude of our Lord s suffering and love.

3 Walk in Love, Act in Mercy A Great Opportunity for Our Whole Parish Community to Come Together, to Pray Together Our Queen of Peace Lenten Mission Feb Officially, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 10. This begins the season of preparation for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. As Lent begins, we each have a wonderful opportunity to define specific spiritual goals we would like to reach before Easter and plan how we will pursue them. Our Queen of Peace Catholic Community offers us many occasions during the Lenten season to assist us in living out our faith and, in particular, enhancing our Lenten journeys. One of the key events this Lent is a Parish Mission planned for Monday through Wednesday, Feb This spiritual mission or journey is being offered and facilitated by our very own Fr. Kazimierz Ligeza. Fr. Kaz, as we know him, will offer us a beautiful way to augment our individual Lenten journeys with three excellent nights of prayer and reflection. Father will give a presentation each night that serves to assist us in preparing for the celebration of Holy Week and our joy at the Resurrection of the Lord on Easter. In this Jubilee Year of Mercy we are called to evaluate our own Spiritual Life, Fr. Kaz says. This is a way to deepen our faith and to help us grow in holiness. We will reflect on the Joy of the Gospel and find ways to encounter a living God as part of our daily lives. However, for us as a faith family, it means more than that. A Lenten Parish Mission is a great opportunity for our whole parish community to come together, to pray together, and to experience our faith family as brothers and sisters collectively on the journey of faith. The mission will help us take a close look at our faith in light of Lent and especially in relationship to this Holy Year of Mercy. Our Parish Lenten Mission is open to everyone and Fr. Kaz encourages everyone to attend the mission. Not only does he see it as a way to grow spiritually, but also a way to seek the conversion we all need. Our schedules can be very busy and hectic, but if we can find a few hours to immerse ourselves in thoughts of faith, it can be most beneficial. Of course, if people can only attend one mission night, that is fine, Fr. Kaz says. But if they can plan and commit to being there all three nights it is even better. In speaking about Lent, our Holy Father Pope Francis had this to say: I would invite everyone this Lent as an opportunity for a formation of the heart. Anyone who wishes to be merciful must have a strong and steadfast heart. This Lent each of us must ask of the Lord, Make our hearts like Yours. One way we might be able to do that is by committing to being a part of our Parish Mission! For more information on the upcoming Parish Mission, please contact the parish office at

4 QUEEN OF PEACE CATHOLIC COMMUNITY RCIA: Bringing 4 The RCIA process works wonders in people s lives. It draws souls to God in a mighty powerful way, and brings hearts home to the refuge of truth Holy Mother, the Church. Since I have been going to RCIA, I have become more sensitized to my faith and really think about how I apply it to my work and my home life, Jenese Bolduc says. My perspective has been sharpened in a good way. I feel that my relationship with God has been enhanced as well, and I ve made some great new friends that I hope to continue to share the journey with. Time and time again, RCIA brings forth abundant blessings, as well. I have been blessed beyond measure to have the opportunity to join the RCIA class with my fellow catechumens, Garland Avera says. Together, we have enjoyed fellowship and an in-depth learning of the Catholic faith, which has been beautiful. And most of all, it feeds the fire of faith in people s hearts. I have really enjoyed the RCIA process and feel that it has really helped me to become a part of the Queen of Peace community already, Jenese says. It has really been helpful to participate in the many faith formation discussions and classes and to come to understand the Catholic beliefs and practices accurately. The coaching we are receiving to help apply our faith to our everyday life and the challenges we all face is outstanding. Every question we have gets an answer, so we will all come away with a clear understanding of what it means to be a good practicing Catholic. At Queen of Peace, RCIA meets year-round on Saturdays at 6 p.m. for Mass followed by a class. It is coordinated by Director of Adult Faith Formation Sr. Beatrice Caulson. The process serves candidates, who are baptized Christians seeking full communion

5 Walk in Love, Act in Mercy Hearts Home with the Catholic Church, and catechumens, who are non-baptized Christians seeking full communion. The first part of the class includes a discussion of the Mass readings, followed by a supper put on by a number of generous parishioners. The second part of the class covers Church doctrine that relates to the readings. Overall, the process includes five steps Precatechumenate, Catechumenate, Purification and Enlightenment, Election, and Mystagogia. It also encompasses the Rite of Enrollment, the Rite of Election, the Scrutinies, and the Reception of First Sacraments. At our parish, RCIA classes use materials created by Team RCIA, which is a free online resource for Catholic parishes and dioceses that want to form Christians for life through the RCIA process. This dynamic program utilizes catechetical materials that come directly out of the liturgy of the Mass, and offer a careful study of the Sacraments, the Saints, Mary, stewardship, and an in-depth reflection on the Eucharist. We hope that our RCIA participants become deeply related to Jesus Christ and see His desire to be in a relationship with them, Sr. Beatrice says. If we can help them to have that relationship, we are doing well. At this time, there are about 25 adults and 28 children enrolled in the RCIA process at our parish. Along with support from the parish community, approximately 50 volunteers are giving their time and talent to make their experience a successful encounter with Christ and His Church. The volunteers are organized into catechist teams, a core team and sponsors. The parish is very supportive of us, Sr. Beatrice says. We also have individuals who promise to pray for someone in RCIA throughout the year and write them encouraging notes. A heartfelt welcome is extended to all of those who will join our parish family soon. May God bless you on your new faith journey, and fill you with hope, love and peace. Welcome home! For those interested in coming into full communion with Christ s glorious Church on earth through RCIA, or if you would like to help others do so, please contact Sr. Beatrice Caulson at New members can join any time! 5

6 QUEEN OF PEACE CATHOLIC COMMUNITY For the Dingles, the thought of getting married at Queen of Peace wasn t simply an offhand decision it was a purposeful step towards a bright future for family and faith. We decided to be married at Queen of Peace and not in the towns we grew up in, says Amie Dingle, further noting how she and her husband Jamie first became involved at Queen of Peace. I wanted to be married here because we had visions of living here and raising our family here and we wanted to be married in the parish where we were going to be living our lives. The couple, who started dating after years of hearing about one another from mutual friends, started regularly attending Queen of Peace when they became engaged in Amie, originally from Tampa, and Jamie, from Crystal River, both grew up in faithful families, and were involved in parish life from an early age. We were both raised Catholic it was always a part of the fabric of our families, the experience of going to Mass, Amie says. Jamie was an active altar server, I sang in the choir. Soon after they began marriage preparation at Queen of Peace, they started finding ways to serve. I had always sung in a choir and I wanted to sing in the choir, Amie says. My fiancé hadn t ever sung in the choir but he wanted to be with me. So we would go to the choir rehearsals and Mr. Gary would put him in any section he needed a body and Jamie would just move his lips, she continues, A Place to Belong Each member of the Dingle family is glad to have found ways to use their gifts to serve our Queen of Peace family. smiling. That s how we started to become part of the community. That was just the beginning. As their kids came along, the family s involvement continued to grow. Both Jennie, who is in fifth grade and James, in first grade, attend Queen of Peace Catholic Academy. According to Amie, their involvement with the school became a natural jumping-off point for their involvement, as well as a place that fosters her children s faith and relationships with God. Their whole day is full of the Holy Spirit and their faith is forming who they re growing into, Amie says. Every decision, every conversation, every subject is an experience of the Holy Spirit. And although the Dingles certainly enjoy participating in Mass and parish functions together, as a family, they each also have specific ways that they like to use their gifts to serve. Jamie is a member of the Knights of Columbus and participates in the parish retreat. Amie serves on the parish retreat committee, volunteers within the school and is available as one of the contact people for the Road to Abundant Life group. Their children are following in their footsteps, with Jennie singing in the church choir, serving as an altar server, and being involved with Girl Scouts, and James helping out in the parish office. Amie encourages others to get involved in the parish, to find a niche, and get connected starting with finding your Mass. 6

7 Walk in Love, Act in Mercy The Dingle Family Putting the Mass as part of our living has been a common and important piece, Amie says. I think there s a possibility, when you go to a church this size, you could feel like, Nobody s going to know me and there s no way I can be involved without a huge commitment. You ve got to start small. Whatever you might be interested in trying, get involved in a small way. There s opportunities to participate in a lot of ways, small or large and you will find people that you connect with. Find your Mass, whatever Mass it is, she continues. Try a bunch of them. See how it fits your family and then build your friends and experience from there. From attending our parish while dating, to now having two children who have received all their sacraments in the parish, Queen of Peace truly has become home for the Dingle family. I think there s a possibility, when you go to a church this size, you could feel like, Nobody s going to know me and there s no way I can be involved without a huge commitment. You ve got to start small. Whatever you might be interested in trying, get involved in a small way. There s opportunities to participate in a lot of ways, small or large and you will find people that you connect with. Amie Dingle Lent A Time of Preparation, Introspection and Conversion continued from front cover We are talking about conversion and stewardship here. This is a time when we should be looking within ourselves. How can we improve? Maybe we need to be a bit more patient with people in our lives perhaps we need to adjust some of our attitudes. One thing we all need to do is to see and find the good in many small things in our lives. Here, at Queen of Peace Catholic Community, we see the good in the many thriving ministries serving our families and our community. This Lenten season is a great opportunity to make some positive changes in our daily lives. Spending time with God and our families, helping others in need, and setting aside time to pray are ways to strengthen your relationship with God. Whatever change is calling you during Lent, take steps to make that change in faith. Lent is about a life of reflection and action, and this extends to our role as stewards of God s blessings. The 40 days of Lent are a time for us to live life as a disciple and as a steward of our God-given gifts. Join us for our Parish Mission, Feb each evening, join us for daily Mass at 8 a.m., attend a Bible Study, or become part of any of our ministries. I pray that this time will indeed be one of renewal, conversion and mercy in your life. Sincerely yours in Christ, Fr. Jeff McGowan, Pastor 7

8 10900 SW 24th Avenue :: Gainesville, FL :: NON-PROFIT ORG US POSTAGE PAID GAINESVILLE, FL PERMIT NO. 606 MASS SCHEDULE Saturday :: 6 p.m. Sunday :: 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 12:00 p.m. Spanish, 5:30 p.m. QOP Facebook qopparish.org Lenten Events Fish Fry Fridays Throughout Lent (see bulletin and website for details) Feb Parish Mission (see bulletin and website for details) March 1 Parish Reconciliation Service March Diocese of St. Augustine Eucharistic Congress (see bulletin for details)

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