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When Does Lent End?

When does Lent End?

One of my favorite questions to answer in Religion Class or in a religious conversations with parishioners is when someone asks me, “Is it true that I can cheat on my Lenten sacrifice on Sundays in Lent?”

I usually answer the question with a question. “How many days in Lent are there?” Everyone answers “forty” which makes me feel good about their religious education. Forty is a significant number in the Bible and that has been ingrained into people’s minds. The Israelites spent forty days wondering in the dessert, Jesus went to pray for forty days, after the Resurrection, Jesus was on Earth for forty day and of course there are forty days of Lent.

But all of that depends on when you count. If you count the Sundays as days of within Lent, then today (Sunday) is the fortieth day since Ash Wednesday. If you don’t count the Sunday’s then the fortieth day is this coming Saturday (Holy Saturday). So… which is correct? Probably a trick question. Most of the questions I ask are. If, let’s suppose, you entered the mind-set that the forty days of Lent ended today (Palm Sunday). In this scenario, you may have kept your fast during the past 5 Sundays and are all ready to be done with things. Alas, you would then be subject to the Holy Week fast, a final intense week of praying and fasting in commemoration with the ritual accounting of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus.

If, let’s suppose, you entered the mind-set that Lent doesn’t end until this Saturday, then another stipulation would befall you. The most holy days and nights of our calendar are captured in something we call the Triduum. The three liturgical events of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, which in themselves are really one long celebration over three days. If we are as true as we can be to keeping the Triduum, we would end our Lenten fast on Holy Thursday night, have a party, and then do 3 days of fasting during the Triduum until we feasted again after the Easter Vigil.

As with many things related to the “rules” of the Church, we can let the rules get in the way of following the purpose for which the rule was created. Rather than being fastidious about whether I could eat chocolate on Sunday’s or not is missing the point. Whether I end Lent today and then enter into a Holy Week fast or whether I end Lent on Thursday and enter into a Tridduum fast is all at the service of asking “Did Lent help me change in such a way that I could enter into Easter with a closer relationship to Jesus?” Because that is really the point.

At Saint Andrew, we held the theme for Lent “Pray, Fast, Give – Healing the Wounds of Injustice.” I guess the best way of knowing how you count the forty days of Lent is to look into the world and note what you see. If there is still injustice, if there is still a suffering in the people around us, if there is still hatred, deceit, and perversity, then Lent isn’t over. If I look within myself and I am still twisted by sin and selfishness, then Lent isn’t over. Our Lenten discipline is over when we are truly ready for Easter in our hearts. Ritually in the Church that may be next Sunday, but in our lives it may be longer or shorter. The rules about Lent are meant to be a prescription to help us along our way, not an injunction we can figure out how to get around. As a basic rule, if there is still injustice in the world, then Lent continues until all can know of the freedom the Resurrection brings us.

I pray you have a blessed and wonderful Holy Week. For me, I’ll keep spending this time praying, fasting and giving. I hope you’ll join me.

-David Heimann, Pastoral Associate

Parish Mission 2018

Join us for our annual parish mission jointly sponsored by Saint Benedict and Saint Andrew Parishes on Sunday, April 15, 2018, Monday, April 16, 2018, and Tuesday April 17, 2018 at 6:30pm in the Saint Andrew Chapel. The parish is for all ages and an optional dinner is available for a small donation starting at 6:00pm.  (more…)

Start with the One Person You Can Change

Start with the One Person You Can Change…

During the season of Lent, we are focusing on our parish theme “Pray-Fast-Give; Healing the Wounds of Injustice.” Each week during Lent we have had a different focus which has invited us to make sacrifices on behalf of healing our broken world.

In this last week before Holy Week, our focus is shifts away from the macro-level injustices of global and national poverty and even away from the local-level concerns of hunger. Instead, we turn inwardly, towards ourselves.

A number of years ago I had the chance to do a lot of travelling around the world to mission sites of the Church in the places of the deepest poverty. Fueled by an ambition to change the world (a passion I still have) I had to face an uncomfortable discovery in myself and in others. I became cognizant of a catchphrase which bears a great deal of truth “Everyone wants to change the world, but few people want to change themselves.”

I realize this little proverb is an indictment of us all but rather than casting stones at others, I’ll start with myself. That is, after all, the point. How foolish of me to think that the world is going to change but everything about me is going to stay the same. How ludicrous that I can condemn the world for racism, sexism, poverty, greed, lust, gun violence, etc… but if you dare judge me for being part of the problem? Woe there! Now you’ve gone too far!

I had to realize that I am the source of the change I seek. The world won’t change if I don’t do it first. I also came to realize that there is a treasure in the Catholic Church which empowers us to make that change. It is called the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

I know for many people, including myself, there has been an unfortunate avoidance of this Sacrament. Perhaps my reason was that I thought I was too busy (a good thing to change), or had a lack of trust in the structures of the church (a good thing to change), or fear of being imperfect (a good thing to change).

Personally, I have discovered that almost every roadblock I have put up towards going to confession is a “good thing to change.” The Sacrament, at its root, is about changing and growing to be better person through transformative power of God’s love. If you are like me, I’ve tried a dozen things to fix problems in the world. I’ve donated money to good causes (a good thing to keep doing), I’ve volunteered at food pantries (a good thing to keep doing), and I’ve gotten involved in political advocacy (a good thing to keep doing). But at the end of the day, what have I done to change myself?

When I go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, change is at the heart of it. In partaking in the Sacrament, I take personal responsibility to transform the world by transforming myself. In that tender and delicate space where I can be vulnerable and accept God’s love for me, I begin to see a better future for myself and the world around me.

It is in that spirit that I encourage others to accept that same grace, to be a part of this incredible sign of change, and to do it together. Let us be a community, not of people who are perfect, but of people who are getting better. Let our sign of that be our willingness to ask God for forgiveness and the power to reform our ways.

We normally have the Sacrament of Reconciliation available on Saturdays at 3:00pm in the church, but in a special way, we want to invite you to the communal celebration that we are sharing with Saint Benedict Parish on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 6:30pm at Saint Benedict Parish.

Reasons on why to go can be found at as well as instructions on how to participate in the Sacrament (especially if it has been a long time). I am grateful for God in showing me through my own self-discovery how I needed to start with myself in order to bring more justice into the world. I pray God will bless you as you journey through your own self-discovery in knowing how to change and the steps to take in making those changes.

-David Heimann, Pastoral Associate

Communal Reconciliation Service – March 20, 2018 6:30pm

Reasons to Go to the Communal Reconciliation Service

At Saint Benedict Parish

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 6:30pm

  • Anonymity – You can put aside the fear that the priest who hears your confession will see you next week when at school or Mass by going to someone other than Fr. Sergio or Fr. Arlen.
  • You’re Not the Only One – Going when there are a group of people takes away the anxiety that you’re the only one sinning. Guess what? We all are. We’re also the ones with the invitation to get better.
  • Timing – It’s probably been a while.
  • Also Timing – It’s the season of Lent. It’s a Catholic custom to work on repentance in Lent.
  • Also Timing Again – It’s probably the quickest way to go. With 5 priests to hear confessions, there is a good chance you won’t have to wait that long to get it done.
  • Getting Right with the Rules – The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 1457) informs us that “each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year.”
  • Sin/Reconciliation is a Social Thing – There is no such thing as a sin that “only affects me.” All sin involves harm done to another person which means forgiveness feels better when other people are part of the reconciliation.
  • You’ll Feel Better – You know all that stuff (baggage) that is weighing you down? You know, the stuff you’ve tried to let go of it on your own but you can’t? Let God cut it off. That’s what God does.
  • You’ll Set the Right Example – Our children in school and Religious Education attend the Sacrament of Reconciliation. By going yourself, you’ll show them that this isn’t an exercise for school but a gift from God throughout our life.
  • Your Presence Will Help Others – All of us can be a little scared or unsure sometimes. Seeing others can help us overcome fear and conversely, our actions towards reconciliation can unconsciously empower others to do the same.

Need to know more on how to go to Confession? Follow this link:



Uganda Lent 2018

Our Multi-faceted Support for Uganda

During the season of Lent, we are focussing on our parish theme of “PrayFast-Give; Healing the Wounds of Injustice.” Each week during Lent we have a different focus that relates to ministries we do in the parish to help heal the wounds of injustice in our community and in the world. If you have been part of Saint Andrew parish, for long, you know that we have a relationship with several direct ministries in Uganda. This effort has been part of our parish culture for more than a decade. Most recently, our efforts have focused on Fr. Matthias’ current parish, St. Charles Lwanga, its primary school and its recently built secondary school – our namesake, St. Andrew. This has been facilitated by a non-profit organization named Uganda Essomero which helps to build and support schools in Uganda. To find out more visit Multiple times a year our parish and school collect funds for our Parish-to-Parish support. These funds are
distributed by Fr. Matthias and utilized to maintain and support his parish, schools and 22 out-stations.


Parish-to-Parish funds are raised at:

• Fall Second Collection for Uganda • 5K Running of the Bulldogs • St. Andrew School Penny Challenge

In addition to the parish-to-parish support, our community has been the bedrock for One Heart Uganda and its scholarship program that currently serves more than 100 students. Parish and school individuals and families have directly sponsored students through this nonprofit organization. While the school and CCD program, as a whole, have each sponsored a student annually. Find out
more at Although One Heart Uganda supporters are now found across the U.S. and in Europe, the majority of its support resides right here in our community with more than 60% of its scholarship recipients receiving consistent, quality education thanks to your generous support. This weekend we celebrate our special bond with our sister parish and Fr. Matthias in Uganda and we hope the following articles give you deeper insight in the tremendous work that Saint Andrew parish does as we engage in this relationship.
As you fast during Lent, remember that the purpose of fasting is so that we may more readily give to the needs of the world. We intend to collect the harvest from our fasting on Holy Thursday so we can support our ministries to Uganda (and other ministries). If you are looking to support any of these ministries, the collection on Holy Thursday is the designated place to make a donation during lent.

And please recall that “healing the wounds of injustice” is not just a financial obligation, but a personal one as well. We especially are called to correct the injustice within ourselves and interpersonally by experiencing the grace of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. As a community, we will join Saint Benedict Parish on Tuesday, March 20 at 6:30pm for our joint-parish Reconciliation service. We hope that you will join us.

-David Heimann, Pastoral Associate

Teacher’s Trip Brings Mission to Life

This July, a group of One Heart Uganda supporters, sponsors and board members will visit Central Uganda to experience local culture and gather progress updates from more than 100 scholarship students. Among those traveling, will be St. Andrew teachers, Kelly Shea (Preschool) and Paula Thivierge (Junior Kindergarten). The teachers will have an opportunity to visit several primary and secondary schools and partner with local teachers and students. In addition to developing curriculum to bring back to St. Andrew School, the opportunities for inspiring and sharing their teaching passion with educators across the world is exceptional.

“I’m looking forward to creating more awareness around Fr. Matthias’ mission and how he’s helping students,” says Thivierge. “I’m also really excited to meet, Eliosi, the little girl we sponsor. I can’t wait to bring back stories and experiences about what it’s like there for my girls and the children I teach.”

“Making the connection and bringing back the realness that connects our schools and students will be great. It really reinforces the Spirit, Study and Service that St. Andrew stands for,” said Shea. “We’re making a difference and I want to help get that word out.”

Our teachers welcome your support in helping them fund their upcoming trip. We encourage you to visit their
websites to assist their efforts:


Support “Get Well”

Worldwide, one out of every five deaths of children under the age of five is due to a water-related disease. Of the 783 million people without access to safe and clean water, more than 40% live in Sub-Saharan African countries like Uganda. These statistics are alarming and just a few. Water is a luxury that every one of God’s creatures should have access to. For this reason, Stephanie Lippian is leading the “Get Well” initiative. Through “Get Well,” it is our goal to raise $9,000 to build a well that supports the new St. Andrew secondary and St. Charles Lwanga primary schools at Fr. Matthias’ parish in Central Uganda.

Currently, the campus has two water tanks. Unfortunately, though, these tanks do not provide enough clean water through the seven-month drought season. The schools are very blessed because over half of the developing world’s primary schools don’t have the luxury of access to water and sanitation facilities. Due to the generosity of the St. Andrew parishioners, scholarships have been awarded and there are more students than ever on campus. It is our shared goal to see these children earn an education, but they need and deserve life’s basic necessity to do so.

Here are few more facts to consider:
• Girls under the age of 15 are twice as likely as boys to be the family member responsible for fetching
water. Without toilets, girls often drop out of school at puberty.
• The average container for water collection in Africa, the jerry can, weighs over 40 pounds when full.

For these reasons and so many more, I ask for your help. 100% of the money raised will go directly toward
the new solar-powered well. If you would like to help fundraise or make a donation to the campaign
please contact me at or at 323-533-7082.

Lent 2018

Lent is for Healing.

This week we begin the practice of Lent in the Church with the celebration of Ash Wednesday.
At Saint Andrew Parish, our theme for the 40 days of Lent is “Healing the Wounds of Injustice” which corresponds with the traditional mantra during Lent – Pray, Fast, Give. The connection between our theme and the traditional mantra is made when we ask the question “Why do we pray?” and “Why do we fast” and “Why do we give?”
When I teach the RCIA classes for adults entering the Catholic Church, I frequently get questions about practices such as fasting and abstaining from meat on Fridays. Why would we do this? It almost seems contradictory when we profess that God created the world “good” and then we go about the business of neglecting ourselves from that goodness. “Why would we deny ourselves?” “What is good in that?” These are great questions. They help clarify the Church’s teaching and also reveal an innate bias rooted in a poor interpretation of our cherished beliefs and practices.
If instead we start from the point of view that yes, the world is created good, but we have participated in God’s creation in unjust ways, we find better reasons for practices such as 40 days of praying, fasting, and giving alms. When we give something up, it isn’t because we enjoy suffering or seek agony. That is misplaced at best and sadistic at worst. Instead, our sacrifice is our participation in restorative justice for the world. To seek the benefit of others is in itself a greater good than the good of pleasure or indulgence.
When we are aligned with our deepest values we pray so that we will have the strength to take action. When we take action by fasting, we remind ourselves of the struggle necessary for justice to flourish. When we give alms rooted in love, we take steps for God’s justice to be made real.
With the help of the Social Concerns Commission at Saint Andrew, every week of Lent, we will focus on one ministry from our parish that works to heal the injustices of the world. We invite you to reflect upon these ministries and to pray about how God can help to keep these ministries in your heart. We then invite you to respond from your heart by sacrificing something from your week. That extra latte or treat that you would normally have. By surrendering that which is excess in our lives, we will all have more that we can give to support those in need. Thus, our prayer (Pray), leads to action (Fast), which leads to justice (Give).
Near the end of Lent, we will focus on our own personal healing through sacramental sign as we prepare ourselves and challenge ourselves to enter into God’s restorative love through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In the fullness of this 40-day journey, our hope is that we will take steps toward greater healing and prepare us for the great joy of Easter.
I hope you will join me and others from the parish in this Lenten journey as we pray, fast, and give so as to participate in Christ’s healing the world’s injustice.
-David Heimann, Pastoral Associate
A week by week schedule of our Lenten theme:
Greater Chicago Food Depository (Regional Justice)February 17 & 18
Ministries to Uganda (International Justice)February 24 & 25
St. Mary of the Lake Pantries (Local Justice)March 3 & 4
Catholic Extension Society (National Justice)March 10 & 11
Sacrament of Reconciliation (Personal Justice) March 17 & 18

Lenten Fish Fry 2018

 Join us for the Saint Andrew Parish Friday Night Fish Fry!

March 23 from 5-8pm

Wearin the Green 2018

Wearin’ the Green is Saint Andrew Parish annual fundraiser with live and silent auction. It will take place on Saturday, March 10, 2018 from 6pm to midnight. Tickets are now available. Get a glimpse of upcoming auction items as well as discover ways to volunteer as well. (more…)

One Book One Parish 2018

Saint Andrew Parish is participating in One Book One Parish for the year 2018. We’ve have the blessing of being able to gift every family with a copy of Michael Leach’s book “Positively Catholic.” Pick up your free copy in the church and participate in our tradition of reading one book together this year. Then join in the conversations…  (more…)

New Year Thanks – 2018

Thank God Ahead of Time

This past November 18, over 71,000 people attended the Beautification of Fr. Solanus Casey, who was a Capuchin Franciscan, at Ford Field in Detroit.  But the attendance far exceeded that.  For this meek and “holy priest” had touched the lives of so many in the Detroit   area.  Each of these could share their own story of how his prayers brought about miracles in their lives.  Each of whom attended in spirit with  hearts of thanks.

Fr. Solanus Casey was the porter, who stood at the door of St Bonaventure Monastery on Mt Elliot St. in Detroit.  During his ministry, 150 to 200 people a day would seek his healing, advice or simply his blessing, which many considered instrumental in their cure.  He would respond with his typical simple wisdom, “Thank God Ahead of Time!”  His spiritual counsel was “to not let sadness and worry frustrate the designs of the God of mercy.  Instead, they should thank God now for the good He will certainly do for them in the future.”  During the Great Depression the city’s poorest and hungriest came to be fed.  At times the line grew to more than 2,000 waiting for their first meal of the day.  Even then, Fr. Solanus never lost faith in the goodness of God to meet their needs, and so God did!  He died on July 31, 1957.

My own ‘Thanks’ began with my volunteering at the soup kitchen at St Bonaventure.  The Capuchin Order’s charism is to minister to the poor, the imprisoned, the sick and those in most need.  (Yes, they live the Acts of Mercy.)  As I served those in need at their soup kitchen, and assisted with the children’s summer program, and received my spiritual direction from one of the Capuchin Priests, I could always feel the holy presence of Fr. Solanus.  Even today, I keep a relic of Fr. Solanus Casey’s Capuchin hood(vestment) on me, and “Thank God Ahead of Time!”  This was the parting advice he gave to his visitors.  For them to still their hearts and to allow the sincere thanks to blossom forth for what God has and will do in their lives.

In the wisdom of our Catholic faith, the beautification of Fr. Solanus Casey is meant to be a profound revelation in our lives.  It is our personal revelation that ‘God is with us.’  That through Blessed Solanus, in a very profound and holy way, he allowed the Light of Christ to burn so brilliantly.  And there are a great multitude of followers that also follow in Christ’s footsteps on this journey to holiness.  We are all on this journey, asked to renew our vows to serve Him, to bring light into this darkness, and to care with an open heart.

Why?  As Blessed Solanus reminds us, “God made me to know Him.  Oh, what a blessed day.  God bless you all.”

My experience of caring with an open heart has in many ways made an outstanding journey in my life.  In the way that I thank God for my family.  In the way that I thank Him for the blessings of love shown in the lives of my children and relatives.  In the way that I thank Him for my visits to His children in need.  In the way that I thank God in my prayers of gratitude, by which I unite myself to Him.  In the way that I thank Him for his gift that “God made me to know Him.  Oh, what a blessed day.”

We begin this new year with endless possibilities, for all things are possible with God.  Imagine the difference we could make.  We could reach out to estranged members of our family.  We could refocus our children’s attention toward caring projects.  We could offer support in building up our church family with overflowing joy.  We could prevent the cold of winter from damping needy hearts.  We could be that positive reflection in our times.  We could be the Light of Christ, burning so brilliantly, as a Blessed one of God.

And why not?

Imagine us showing a constant posture of gratitude.

Oh, what a Blessed day!

Imagine us acknowledging that God made us to know his presence in our lives.

Oh, what a Blessed New day!

Imagine us starting each day by giving “Thanks to God ahead of time!”

OH, what a Blessed NEW YEAR!

Indeed, God blesses us all the time.  Let us give Thanks to the Lord our God.

Deacon Eric Sorensen