Parishes Concoct Assortment of Tasty Treats in Lenten Traditions

The sugary-sweet aroma is unmistakable around parish kitchens and social halls this time of year. From warm and sticky fastnatchts to luscious chocolate eggs, the sugary treats are staples in several parish communities, drawing thousands of customers to the longstanding saccharine traditions.

A “foodie” road trip ahead of Shrove Tuesday served up a glimpse of the confectionary customs and the volunteers that make the Lenten treats possible at several parishes in the Diocese.

Rite of Election Welcomes New Members Preparing to Enter Church

Lent is a time of repentance, preparation and renewal leading up to Easter. For more than 90 men, women and children in the Diocese of Harrisburg, it is also their last phase of preparation before they enter into full communion with the Church at the Easter Vigil.

On Sunday, March 1 at St. Patrick Cathedral in Harrisburg, these catechumens were presented to Bishop Ronald Gainer during the Rite of Election. Annually celebrated throughout the Church on the first Sunday of Lent, those who will receive the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Eucharist at the Easter Vigil have their names written into the Book of the Elect during this ceremony. These catechumens are joined by their sponsors, catechists and godparents as a sign of support and preparedness.

The Sacredness of Listening

Father Jonathan Sawicki is the Diocese’s Vocations Director. Not too long ago, I had the privilege of accompanying him to a vocations awareness day in the southwestern part of our Diocese.

I truly LOVE talking vocations: the unique call of God to be holy! The journey to be holy is a life-long experience and is as unique and individual as each of us are!

The Just Man is a Light in Darkness

Woven in the collective memory of this nation is the tragic terror African Americans have long endured. One hundred and sixty years ago, more than four million blacks were slaves in America. One hundred and twenty years ago, more than a thousand blacks were lynched, hanged from a tree for daring to vote or speak to racial injustice. Fifty-five years ago, black leaders were assassinated in cold blood with their killers never facing justice, as witnesses did not dare speak the truth for fear of retribution. To be a just man, it would seem fitting that truthfully remembering history means not just celebrating the light, but also not forgetting the darkness.

Ground Broken at St. John Neumann to Welcome St. Anne School

Tramping the muddy upturned earth at the groundbreaking ceremony for their new school, students from St. Anne’s in Lancaster had reason to cheer on Feb. 2.

It wasn’t because of Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction of an early spring that day, or even the burst of flurries from a snow squall as they pitched shovels into the ground. Rather, the excitement centered on the promise of a new chapter in St. Anne’s history.

World Day of the Sick Uplifts in Prayer Those Who are Ill

Each February 11, the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, commemorating the Blessed Mother’s appearances to young Bernadette in 1858 in Lourdes, France, today a pilgrimage site where people find healing in the holy waters that flow from the grotto where Mary appeared.

In one of her 18 apparitions to Bernadette, who suffered from asthma, Our Lady encouraged that the faithful unite their suffering with the sufferings of Christ.

Respect Equals Success for Crusaders’ Coach Kauffman

Grit requires longevity to prove it true. When you drive over Chickies Hill and descend the long funneling way into Columbia, Lancaster County, what strikes you as you peer down upon the industrial town along the Susquehanna River is the tenacity it houses. In a very good way, Columbia is gritty, and it is quite easy to have respect for that kind of discernable toughness.

Coach Lamar Kauffman is Columbia – born and raised – where he learned how to compete and excel in sports. He played basketball at Columbia High School in the 1950s and then was an assistant at the school under Coach Elmer Kreiser. There coaching for the Crimson Tide, Coach Kauffman learned the lessons of playing hard all 32 minutes, and it’s where his trademark full-court trapping defenses were born.

Diocesan Pastoral Council Holds Inaugural Meeting

Fulfilling his promise to involve more lay member in Diocesan operations, Bishop Ronald Gainer hosted the first meeting of the Diocesan Pastoral Council in early February. This board includes nearly 30 lay members, two religious sisters, two permanent deacons and two priests.

The Council is a consultative board that assists Bishop Gainer by providing advice, presenting his questions to the faithful whom the council members represent, and assisting with researching and coordinating Diocesan programs and activities. This Council also assists the faithful by presenting their concerns to Bishop Gainer, serving as a constructive means of communication between the faithful and Bishop Gainer.

Create a Safe, Sacred Space for Listening

One of the pictures I treasure from my childhood is of me when I was probably two years old. I was dressed in a bright pink frilly dress and my thin blond hair was a mass of wispy, unruly ringlets. My sister, who was ten at the time, stood holding me, dressed in the same dress as me. We were both next to a spindly cherry tree in full bloom with pink blossoms.

As the tree and I both grew, I discovered that I found a sacred place under its boughs. You see, the root system of this tree grew very close to the surface. Within its twists and turns, I found a spot that perfectly supported not only my back but also my neck and head. Under this tree, I learned how to read, how to sew invisible stitches on a hem and how to play chess. Under its boughs, I felt God’s protective love because, nestled within its root system, I discovered a safe space.