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Reflection for the Third Week of Lent

March 13, 2023

From the Office for Social Ministry

This year the papal messages for Lent highlight contemplation and service as vital for coming closer to God. During this solemn season, the Holy Father is reflecting on how the Transfiguration of Jesus reveals the beauty of God’s transformative love. The Pope points out that by focusing contemplation on Christ’s face transfigured in our midst, we can see the beauty of God’s transforming love that surrounds us, “even when it bears the mark of the cross.” Through the contemplative focus of Lenten prayer, fasting and almsgiving, we can “learn to see the same beauty on the faces of the people who walk beside us every day – family, friends, colleagues who take care of us in the most varied ways. How many luminous faces, how many smiles, how many wrinkles, how many tears and scars reveal love around us!”  This Lenten contemplation focused on the face of Christ in the world can lead us to deepen our love of God and neighbor through “service of others.”

There are many ways in our Diocese to see the beauty of God’s transforming love in the faces of others. At Mary Star of the Sea Church on Oahu, parishioners recently established their Ministry for Persons with Disabilities by welcoming persons with varying gifts and abilities to celebrate the “’Ohana Mass.” This beautiful Eucharistic celebration included signing for the deaf and altar servers with down syndrome and autism. Parishioners experienced Mass through the eyes of the blind and heard the Word through sign language, together as one ‘Ohana. Some were new to Mary Star of the Sea Parish, so ushers who are members of the Knights of Columbus offered a warm welcome and escorted them to the designated pews where they were able to better participate in the Eucharist and clearly see the beautiful sign language by a teenager whose mother has transformed her hearing loss into a special gift filled with visual expression. The pastor’s homily called all in the congregation to contribute their gifts by actively participating in the Mass as part of the parish’s Eucharistic Revival. Later, the community continued the breaking of bread through a potluck supper where all joyfully served each other with nourishing food and aloha, further revealing Christ’s face of God’s love. These “Ohana Masses” and potluck fellowship will continue on the fourth Saturday each month, 5:30 PM at Mary, Star of the Sea where all are welcomed to celebrate and share their gifts as one ‘Ohana. For more information please contact Deacon Rafael Mendoza at rafmendoza@rcchawaii.org