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Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday are both about relationships, says cardinal

BRAINTREE -- On the surface, it might not look like St. Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday, both falling on the same day this year, have much in common. Yet, said Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley during noon Mass Feb. 14 at the Pastoral Center's Bethany Chapel, both days are about relationships.

Wilmington Catholic Collaborative parishes merge

BRAINTREE -- The parishes of the Wilmington Catholic Collaborative -- St. Dorothy and St. Thomas of Villanova -- have merged to form the Parish of the Transfiguration.

The Smartphone: The best and the brightest's plague on our children

The best minds of this generation are not going into the Peace Corps, politics, religious life and certainly not into teaching. They have taken their education, their talents and their energy off to California's Silicon Valley. And, thus, they consciously or unconsciously are engaged in corrupting the hearts, the minds and the souls of our children.

The impact of a simple cardboard box

Much of the work that we do at Catholic Charities is aimed at helping those in need within our own community. But struggles do not merely exist in Massachusetts, almost half the world -- over three billion people -- live on less than $2.50 a day. With this in mind, as we have each of the past four years, Catholic Charities has partnered with Catholic Relief Services through their Rice Bowl campaign.

Repentance in the early Church

The call to a change of heart and a change of life was a hallmark of the ministry of Jesus, of his forerunner, John the Baptist, and of his apostles. And the Lenten season, which has been part of the Christian year from the earliest days of the Church, has always made repentance its centerpiece.

The Fra Angelico Guild

On Sept. 20, 1939, a group of 10 Catholic artists met at a studio located at 3 Joy Street in Boston, with the intention of forming an organization that would help spread knowledge of Christian art. They would first take the name Guild of Catholic Artists and Craftsmen, then Guild for Catholic Artists, and later Guild for Christian Art. By late November, at the suggestion of Cardinal William H. O'Connell that they take a saint's name, they agreed on the Fra Angelico Guild. The guild was inspired by Catholic Action, which they defined as "the cooperation of the laity in the apostolate of the Hierarchy" or, in other words, lay people helping advance the mission of the Church. The term "guild" implied the group met not for the benefit of its members, but for the betterment of society. Their stated goal was to "endeavor to teach and instruct the youth both in and out of the Church and provide for them new cultural opportunities and equip them correctly with the necessary technique of appreciation of the arts."

The New Creation

Lent bids us to return to the innocence of baptism. As Noah and his family were saved through the waters of the deluge, we were saved through the waters of baptism, Peter reminds us in today's Epistle. And God's covenant with Noah in today's First Reading marked the start of a new world. But it also prefigured a new and greater covenant between God and His creation (see Hosea 2:20; Isaiah 11:1--9). We see that new covenant and that new creation begin in today's Gospel.

How to get ready for Lent

"In these days, therefore, let us add something beyond ordinary expectations of our service. Let each one, over and above the measure prescribed, offer God something of his own freewill in the joy of the Holy Spirit." (Rule of St. Benedict, sixth century)

Repentance: A response to the Father's love and forgiveness

As we enter Lent we are welcomed by the phrases "repent and believe in the Gospel" or "you are dust and to dust you shall return." These words are spoken as a cross of ashes is placed on our foreheads.

Prayer of repentance

Lord Jesus, Lent presents me with the opportunity -- and the obligation -- to examine where my life is modeling your example and where I am failing to help bring about the kingdom of God.