Pastoral Notes by Fr. Will

Feast of St Joseph (observance Monday, March 20)
Thanks to the Men’s Fellowship for hosting the Pancake Breakfast this Sunday morning after the 7:30 am, 9:30 am and 10:00 am Masses at the Seelos Cafeteria. All are welcome to attend.

Festival of Praise
Please join Fr. Dan along with praise music by Noah Pepmeyer for our Festival of Praise in honor of St. Joseph at St Alphonsus at 7:00 pm.

Lenten Confessions:
Our Parish Penance Service is this Wednesday, March 22 at 7:00 pm at St. Alexis.

The Light is On For You is Wednesday, March 29 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm at St. Alexis and 6:00 - 9:00 pm at St. Alexis and St. Alphonsus.

Our regular Confession Times are 11:15 am every Saturday at St. Alexis and 6:00 pm every Monday at St. Alphonsus. There will be no confessions on Saturday, April 8 (Holy Saturday) or Easter Monday, April 10.

Match Madness Priests vs Firefighters
Once again we will host this fun event in the Ryan Center on Saturday, March 25 at 7:00 pm. See graphic below for more info.

From the Heart by Fr. Will

Encounter the Risen Jesus this Lent
How do we make Lent more meaningful? Do you desire Lent to be a time of transformation so we can experience a new life in Christ at Easter? We don’t want Lent to be just a time when you have to give up your favorite thing,  chocolate, candy, or a TV show. We have to go deeper than giving up something for 40 days and not eating fish on Fridays. These are important elements of Lent but they are not what gives it purpose.
My mom, the theologian, said to me before Lent that this is a time of renewal for us and the world. Vatican II says, “Lent should be a time of renewing our baptism through a time of penance. This is the season of renewal. A season of hope. Hope in the Resurrection of Jesus on Easter.”
The Christian life takes sacrificing small things in order to experience greater joys. The cross of Christ always precedes his Resurrection. We are transformed through sacrifice and suffering, because Christ made suffering holy and gave it purpose through suffering on the cross.
The Church shares two ways to renew our baptism during Lent through penance. These practices that bring about a greater experience of Easter joy. First, through the three ancient disciplines of Lent: Prayer, fasting, and acts of charity. You can refer to my previous Lenten article for more on those. The second way, renewing our baptism through penance during Lent, is by receiving God’s loving mercy through the Sacrament of Confession.
Confession! What emotions does that raise in you? We have a natural aversion to confessing our sinfulness. This feeling seems to come up every time. Yet, afterwards there is a greater feeling of renewal and freedom. It’s always worth it. It can be tough, especially if it has been a long time. About 16 years ago I had to say, “Father forgive me I have sinned - it has been 10 years since my last confession.” So if it’s been a long time, be not afraid, for as Paul says, “If God is for us, who will be against us?” NO One.
Here is how the Church understands the sacrament of penance. She says it is to be “a serious striving to perfect the grace of baptism.” The sacrament of confession is a renewing and deepening of our baptism and our identity as disciples of Jesus Christ. It is an encounter with the Transfigured, Risen, Glorified Jesus, the Son of God. We have this aversion, but the greater vision is of encountering Jesus’ Mercy, being free, and renewing our life as a disciple of Jesus.
I think the story of Jean Valjean in the musical Les Miserables helps make this point of encountering Jesus’ mercy in confession. Many of you know the story. Jean Valjean was unjustly imprisoned for stealing in order to feed his starving family. He became bitter in prison. Yet he did his penance of 20 years - he was not changed, just bitter. Penance for him was only a punishment, and a debt that needed paid. When released, he was taken in by a bishop. Jean Valjean stole from him. The sin remained. He was not transformed by his punishment of 20 years in prison. When he was caught for stealing silver from the bishop and brought before him by his accusers, Jean Valjean said he was given the silver as a gift. The bishop showed him the mercy of God, saying “So Monsieur, you may release him, for this man has spoken true, I commend you for your duty God’s blessing go with you. But remember this, my brother, see in this some higher plan. You must use this precious silver to become an honest man. God has raised you out of darkness, I have bought your soul for God.”
He encountered the transfigured Jesus by the kindness of the bishop. This is the experience of confession ... liberation from sin and a clear conscience to start anew. This Lent encounter Jesus through prayer, fasting, and acts of charity. But most of all, renew your baptism by encountering the Risen Jesus’ mercy in the Sacrament of Penance.


Disciple Maker Index Survey Reminder and Recap
Thank you to all parishioners who have completed the Disciple Maker Index (DMI) Survey! We are grateful for your time and efforts, and we encourage every parishioner to participate in this survey if you have not already done so. The DMI Survey is available until Friday, March 31 and the results will provide our parish with an assessment of where parishioners are in their spiritual lives and how we can help everyone grow in their faith as Missionary Disciples to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
A link to the Disciple Maker Index Survey can be found on our parish website and the site is All of your responses are completely confidential. No member of the parish staff or our leadership team will ever have access to your individual answers.
If you have any questions about the survey or would like a paper copy they can be found in the back of the church, or please contact Sister Linda at
724-935-4343. Please drop off all paper surveys in the secure boxes in the back of the church, or to the parish office no later than Friday, March 31.
Again, please take 10-15 minutes to complete this survey. The results will be invaluable to Fr. Will, the parish staff, and our many volunteers as we seek ways to best support everyone in their discipleship journey. Thank you for your support and for helping us with this important planning initiative!

Low Gluten Hosts 
If you require a low gluten host, please enter the priest’s line for Communion or ask an usher for assistance before Mass or Communion.

Life Teen Ministry 
March 19: Teens will journey through Lent together while watching Season 1 of The Chosen. This week’s episode introduces us to some children who demonstrate for us how to listen to Jesus. The sessions with the teens are going very well and they are learning and feeling the love that God has for them! The Holy Spirit is moving!! Every week we share a meal, learn more about our faith and each other, and enjoy some fun time. It’s never too late to join us! All are welcome!!!
A special thank you to the Heim family for providing the Red Robin burger bar for the Life Teen group. This week we thank the Cambest family for providing dinner on March 19. All good things work together for God’s glory!!!

Young Adult Ministry 
March 20: The Young Adult Ministry will attend the Festival of Praise. Journey to God through worship music and a reflection on the Gospel with with a special focus on St. Joseph.

Calling All Bakers 
Our Dine-In Fish Fry is back … so is the dessert table!! We are looking for donations of any baked goods to help make this a success. We are in need of at least 900-1000 servings of dessert each week! Each Friday of Lent, there will be baker’s racks in the lobby of the school to conveniently drop off your donations. Please have them delivered by 1:30 pm. Questions? Contact Alicia Berardinelli at 412-996-1659 or

Lenten Fish Fry Meals for Homebound Parishioners 
On March 17 and March 24, we are delivering our award winning fish fry dinner to homebound parishioners. Last year we delivered and visited with 30 of our brothers and sisters that could not otherwise get to the St. Aidan Lenten Fish Fry. If you would like to deliver a meal, please go to the signup genius at Also, if you are aware of a parishioner that is currently homebound and would like a dinner delivered to them, please contact the parish office at 724-935-4343.

Ladies of Charity Lenten Food Drive 
The Ladies of Charity Lenten Food Drive ends on SUNDAY, MARCH 26. Please be as generous as possible. We can use any non-perishable food, household products or grocery store gift cards. Thank you in advance for your generosity.

Saint Aidan Prayer Meeting 
Please join us for our Saint Aidan Prayer Meeting on the third Saturday of every month from 8:45 - 9:45 am in the Youth Room of the Saint Alexis old school building. If you are interested, just show up or contact Karen Landau at Our next meeting is Saturday, March 18. All are welcome. No preparations are necessary.

Lost & Found 
Check out the St. Alphonsus Church lost and found container under the table at the old side ramp door entrance for items that you may have left in the church. Items unclaimed by Sunday, March 19 will be donated locally.

What is the Proper Role of the Laity? 
The proper role of the laity is not to share in clerical power. “The role of each Christian, in answer to the universal call to holiness, is a role of service and evangelization ... the clergy serving mainly within the Church; and the laity serving essentially within the world. The priest has to be Christ to the Christian laity, in a priestly way. And the laity have, in a lay way, to be Christ to the world.” Please join this Men’s Fellowship’s discussion on Monday, March 20 at 6:00 pm at The Ark & the Dove on Babcock Blvd. For more info contact or Paul Spence at 724-713-8633.

“Make Us Believers” 
Passion Play practice will be in the Ryan Center from 6:00 to 8:00 pm on the following dates: Tuesday, March 21 and Thursday, March 23


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