Bishop Malloy's Public Schedule
April 21, 2024
ROCKFORD - 7:30 a.m., Sunday Mass, Cathedral of St. Peter
April 21, 2024
SYCAMORE - 1:00 p.m., Confirmation, St. Mary Church
April 23, 2024
ROCKFORD - 11:00 a.m., Jubilarian Mass, St. Rita Church
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April 23, 2024
AURORA - 6:00 p.m., Mass and Blessing of Tabernacle, St. Therese of Jesus Church
April 24, 2024
WARREN - 5:30 p.m., Confirmation for St. Ann-Warren, St. Joseph-Lena, and St. Mary-Elizabeth, at St. Ann Church
April 27, 2024
CRYSTAL LAKE - 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. (two ceremonies), Confirmation, St. Thomas the Apostle Church
April 28, 2024
WOODSTOCK - 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. (two ceremonies), Confirmation, St. Mary Church
April 28, 2024
ROCKFORD - 7:30 a.m., Sunday Mass, Cathedral of St. Peter
April 29, 2024
ELBURN - 5:30 p.m., Confirmation for St. Gall-Elburn, St. Mary-Maple Park, and SS. Peter and Paul-Virgil, at St. Gall Church
May 4, 2024
ELGIN - 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. (three ceremonies), St. Joseph Church
May 5, 2024
ROCKFORD - 7:30 a.m., Sunday Mass, Cathedral of St. Peter
May 5, 2024
ST. CHARLES - 2:00 p.m., Confirmation, St. John Neumann Church
May 7, 2024
LOVES PARK - 5:30 p.m., Confirmation, St. Bridget Church

Lent Helps Us Know the Fullness of
Ourselves in the Light of Jesus

By Most Rev. David Malloy
Bishop of Rockford
(This column will appear in the Feb. 16 issue of The Observer Catholic Newspaper)

We have now begun the season of Lent. It is a period of necessary reflection and action to strengthen our discipleship with Jesus.
Discipleship with Jesus is not simply an empty phrase. It gets to the heart of our calling and our baptism. As Christians and Catholics, we have been personally called by Jesus. Our calling is to be like Him, to follow Him, to imitate Him, to suffer and then rise with Him, and ultimately to be with Him forever.

Jesus has reminded us, however, that to be worthy of the promise, we must put our calling into practice. In our society which is characterized by the emphasis on comfort, individualism and materialism, we are tempted either to put God aside completely, or reduce our relationship with Him to a thought exercise or a mere good intention that does not interrupt or inconvenience our lives.

Lent reminds us that we must do more. Christ said to His followers, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” (Mt. 7:21).

And He described in a parable a wedding feast where those who have been alert and prepared for the bridegroom’s return entered into his joy. Others who dozed and were not prepared scrambled too late to get their affairs in order. They returned to find the door to the feast locked. And they heard the voice of the bridegroom from within tell them the truth they sought to conceal even from themselves. “Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.” (Mt 25:12).

The beauty of Lent is that is helps us to know the fullness of ourselves in the light of Jesus. It is a time first to reflect on how we are doing not just as faces in the crowd of humanity, but as disciples of Christ. Lent is meant to help us identify how grace is working in us and the good that results. For that, we are to give thanks to the Lord and ask Him to help us to make further progress.

More frequent attendance at Mass during the week is an excellent way to enter into Lent. This is especially the case in this time when we are striving to strengthen and renew our faith in the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

Lent is also a time to serve Christ in the poor and the lonely. During Lent we can work to pray for and foster our commitment to respect the dignity of human life at every stage from conception to natural death. It is a moment to ask if grace is moving us to live simply, to use moderately and with respect all the gifts of God that impact creation.

But as a logical and spiritual consequence, we use Lent to examine ourselves to see what thoughts, words, actions and omissions weaken our discipleship. What sins have we fallen into, what compromises have we adopted in life that would keep us on the outside if Christ were to return at this moment?

Are we aware of anything in our lives that the teaching of Jesus and the Church would say is a grave and mortal sin? If so, we must repent of it and confess it. Ask yourself, “Do I need to address my abuse of alcohol, drugs or pornography? Do I indulge anger or hatred, especially of any particular person or group? Is my language profane, undisciplined or unworthy of a disciple of Jesus?”

We must see all of this in the context of our calling to discipleship and our baptism. Lent is a time to repent and believe in the Gospel.

Please be sure to make a Lenten confession. I invite you to do so. And to facilitate that, our annual Be Reconciled Day will be Wednesday, March 20. All of our parishes will seek to make confessions available from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Check your parish bulletin for precise details.)

Click here for Additional Lenten Resources