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Association of the Miraculous Medal
Your Lenten Sacrifice - A Response to Mary's Call
 

Jesus worked his first miracle at the wedding feast of Cana. Mary saw that the party hosts had run out of wine and could have been terribly embarrassed. Mary said to Jesus, "They have no wine." Jesus kept the party going by changing water into wine. Mary saw a need, and at her request, Jesus responded to that need.

We are the Body of Christ on earth and Mary is our mother. She calls our attention to the needs of others, and, as members of the Association of the Miraculous Medal, we respond. This year, I ask you to respond to Mary’s call by setting aside $1 each day during Lent as a sacrificial offering to help those in need who are served by the Vincentian Mission in Arkansas.

I’ll let Vincentian Father Michael Walsh tell you about this ministry and its needs. . . .

“The Arkansas Vincentian Mission has been working with the Hispanic community in Arkansas since the 1990s. Fathers Mike Walsh and Luis Ariel Ramírez, and Deacon Arnold Hernández, provide Hispanic ministry at St. Anne Church in North Little Rock, and three other parishes 40 to 70 miles away.

In Arkansas, as in most of the United States, the Hispanic presence is renewing the Catholic Church. By God’s unexpected grace, Vincentians working in Arkansas have seen a retreat program become a bond of faith and service among Hispanic and non-Hispanic Catholics of all ages. The Vincentian Missionary Program—Programa Vicentino Misionero—is helping Hispanic immigrants find their place in the Arkansas Church and is drawing on their spiritual gifts to enrich the Church.

Catholics and Hispanics in Arkansas, like in much of the South, are minorities. Hispanic Catholics, especially those in rural areas, can feel doubly isolated. Seeking an experience that could bond Hispanic Catholics into a community, we drew on Vincentian programs that were working in other parts of the country to present men’s and women’s weekend Encounters in Spanish to kick off the Missionary Program.

These Encounters focus on experiencing God’s love: Dios Papá and Jesús Amigo (God our Father and Jesus our Friend, John 15:15). After the Encounter, the Vincentian Mission supports weekly church communities and larger formation events to continue the process of faith development and service. These groups are led by lay “Vincentian Misioneros” who have gifts of humility, simplicity, joy, and zeal. They invite inactive Catholics to experience God's love and live it out in their families, communities, and parishes. Again and again men and women marvel at the simple but profound changes in their lives, marriages, and family relationships.

But God had a surprise in store for the Misioneros. English-speaking parishioners said, "Those Misioneros look so excited after their weekend, couldn’t you do something like that in English?" So, the Misioneros hosted English-speaking weekends for their fellow parishioners. The results were amazing. English speakers were grateful and felt deeply united to their Hispanic brothers and sisters. Stereotypes crumbled as participants exchanged stories of faith and life; and new friendships began.

The Encounters have attracted people from a multitude of parishes and have bonded communities. In five years, more than 1,000 men and women have lived the Encounter in Spanish or English, and almost 400 regularly attend the 23 small-church communities scattered throughout Arkansas. Your prayers will support continued development for this Vincentian evangelization, and your donations will help the Misionero Encounter, provide formation materials for our communities, and help build a center for the program.”

This Lent, let me ask you to respond, like Jesus, to Mary’s call. While none of us may be able to turn water into wine, we can pray for the Arkansas Vincentian Mission and set aside a small Lenten sacrifice to send to our Lady’s Association at Easter. If you set aside just $1 each day, you will have $40 for our Lady’s work and the work of the Vincentian community at the end of Lent. Your prayers and sacrifice will have provided true and meaningful help.

To help you keep track of your sacrificial giving and our days of abstinence during Lent, click here for a calendar and use it as a Lenten reminder. I also have a Vincentian Missioner prayer which you can pray with us each day of Lent as you set aside your gift. Your sacrifice will help people in real need.

By your prayers, penance, and almsgiving during Lent, you will be a witness to Jesus and his message of love. The Vincentian missionaries will be truly grateful.

I pray for you daily and ask you to pray for the Arkansas Vincentian Mission, the members of the Association, and me. May God bless you now and always.

Sincerely yours in Mary,

 

Fr. Oscar Lukefahr, C.M.
Spiritual Director

P. S. You can always send your intentions to our Lady's Association so we can remember them in our prayers and Masses during Lent.  Also, you can light a Votive Light at our Lady's Shrine for your intentions, for those in the Arkansas Vincentian Mission, or for someone you love.



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Prayer for Lent
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