Lenten Message 2004

To the Faithful of the Archdiocese of Ottawa

Our Holy Father has sent us a very fine, short letter on Lent *. The subject for reflection he suggests is Children. So in this light, I offer a little examination of conscience for Lent:

In the Gospels we see the apostles trying to keep the children away from Jesus. Jesus welcomes them with open arms. Do we follow the apostles or Jesus? Do we make room for children in our daily lives? In our celebrations do we always have adults only? Do we protect ourselves from the normal disturbances children cause?

Children do not know much of anything, they realize that they have much to learn and they are not ashamed of that fact. They ask questions, they want to learn. Are we like little children, are we asking questions of life? Are we seeking answers in the right places? Our parishes, our dioceses, our institutions offer special programs during Lent, are we taking advantage of these?

Little children are helpless to help themselves and others. They rely on their parents as well as other children and adults. We also share some of their helplessness. We need to rely on working with others to help ourselves and others. Do we plan to get involved in the Development and Peace projects?

Lent is a happy time, it is a time when we can readjust our lives, tune in to a dimension that brings more joy to our life. May the Holy Spirit inspire you every day of Lent and may he keep you alive, warm and full of light in rediscovering childhood.

* available on the Vatican website.

Sincerely yours in Christ our Lord,

Marcel Gervais
Archbishop of Ottawa

Feb. 19/04