The Daily Divina/The Weekly Ember Digital Subscriptions

Season of Lent

Lent is meant to be a time of repentance. That’s not a feeling of shame, but an awareness that sin separates us from God and of what it cost Him to be reunited with us. “Shame has its place, but feeling shame over sin is not the same thing as repentance from sin” because “our tempter can take our obedience to God and turn it into a source of pride.” 

Repentant sinners “seek […] cleansing from sin, but also freedom from shame.” True repentance leads” to a “180-degree change of [...] direction,” requires “true brokenness,” but repentance starts with “regretful acknowledgment of sin with commitment to change.”  

That is why conflating Lent with New Year’s resolutions is dangerous. This time of fasting should not add religious encouragement to a difficult goal: to lose weight, stop watching pornography, or to give money to charity. “Lent is [...] an opportunity to contemplate what our Lord really did for us on the Cross.” 

Resolutions focus on meeting self-set, self-motivated goals rather than goals established by God and may even rebel against His purposes. Resolutions reflect a desire for autonomy from God instead of recognizing that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthian 3:16, 6:19) and the work of the potter, to be regarded as precious (Isaiah 64:8). 

Resolutions simply focus on “self,” not Christ. Lent is a good time to give up one’s own resolutions and listen for God’s leading. Where God leads might be more difficult than any fast, and, here, Christians realize that they cannot do anything in their own strength either: only the grace of God is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Christians honor the 40 days and nights following Christ’s baptism when He went into the wilderness without water and food and was tempted by Satan. During that time, Christ did what we do today when we fast: wrestle with temptation. This was not the first fast; biblical figures often fasted when petitioning God for something important. “So we fasted and implored our God [...], and he listened to our entreaty” (Ezra 8:23). The Israelites “mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the LORD and for the nation of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword” (2 Samuel 1:12). 

Before going to her husband to intercede for the Jews, Esther told Mordecai, “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do” (Esther 4:16). Jews and Christians have historically fasted to show repentance, to grieve particularly difficult trials, and to “seek God’s favor.” 

While Protestants also take part, Catholic churches are particularly associated with Lent. No church history indicates the year when believers first took part in the tradition or what was required. Lenten fasting “has consisted of abstaining from all animal products” for some, but “for others, fish and/or poultry were allowed.” Certain societies have permitted “only bread” for a time. There were full-day fasts; half-day fasts; and the potential to pay money in order to be excused from participating. 

Click here to sign up to receive St. Leo's monthly newsletter.

World Day of Prayer

Worship Schedule

What You Need to Know about our Church Reopening

Nini unahitaji kujua juu ya ufunguzi wa Kanisa

Lo que necesita saber sobre nuestra reapertura de la iglesia

Click here to watch Fr. Jim's video explaining the new guidelines for attending Mass.

Mass    Saturday    6:00 pm, Spanish

  Sunday   10:30 am, Multilingual
    Wed.   11:30 am, English/Bilingual
    Thurs.   7:00pm, Bilingual
Holy Days       Call 513-921-1044 for specific information 
Vigil       Call 513-921-1044 for specific information 
Exposition of the 
Blessed Sacrament
  Following 7:00 pm Mass until 9:00 pm
Confessions   Saturday   Call 513-921-1044 for appointment
Baptism       Call 513-921-1044  3 weeks in advance 
Marriage       Call 513-921-1044  6 months in advance 
Sacrament of the Sick        Call 513-921-1044 
        Daily Reflections 
Mass at St. Boniface:             
     Monday     7:30 am   English
     Tuesday     7:00 pm   English
     Wednesday     7:30 am   English
     Friday     7:30 am   English
     Saturday     4:00 pm    English
          6:00 pm   Spanish
     Sunday     9:00 am   Spanish
        11:00 am   English
        12:30 pm   Spanish

The Strangers We Meet

Painting in the vestibule of St. Leo's

The work of the late Fr. Jim Hasse, SJ, “The Strangers We Meet” depicts Christ breaking bread at Emmaus. Instead of more traditional representations, it depicts Christt as a man of African descent, sitting with people of various ages and from various ethnic heritages. All the models were St. Leo parishioners.

“Fr. Jim captured spiritual life in his works, revealing the sacredness in everyday people and everyday actions,“ says Fr. Josephh Folzenlogen, SJ, who lived and worked with the priest painter at Claver Jesuit Ministries in South Cumminsville (OH). “Jim’s paintings were mirrors in which people could see their own beauty.”

Models for the 2004 painting were Timaya Smith (the child in the foreground), Amy Egan, Darnell Edwards, Ivy Peppers, and Rick Nohle.

“Since Jim used people from the parishes and neighborhoods where he worked as his models, the paintings were not just images,” says Fr. Joe. “They were connections with people he loved. Those people were also his children.”

St. Leo parishioner Stephanie Sepate describes the painting as “a beautiful remembrance of purpose” in every life.

“In the upper left of our painting is the figure of the angel by the tomb of the Risen Lord, and the women running to share the news,” she says. “What a beautiful remembrance of purpose in each of our lives — we are not really strangers to each other but we are all one universal family in our life’s journey.”

Fr. Jim Hasse, whose paintings appeared in several publications and are held in private collections, including the art museum at St. Louis University, died in 2011. Most of his paintings are of biblical subjects and feature African-American people he worked with. To see several galleries of his works with associated reflections, click here.

A New Life

Michelangelo sculpted the Pietà in 1498–1499,    taking less than two years to complete. His depiction of the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion on the rock of Golgatha is one of the most famous pieces of sculpture known by so many across the world.

Showing the "religious vision of abandonment and a serene face of the Son", Michelangelo did not want his version of the Pietà to represent death, but rather a representation of the communion between man and God through Christ’s gift of life.

For the 1964 New York World’s Fair, the Vatican loaned the Pietà for installation in the Vatican pavilion. A conveyor belt moved people, who stood in line for hours, past the sculpture. It is housed in St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City and is the only piece Michelangelo ever signed.

Several decades ago, St. Leo was gifted with a beautiful representation of the Pietà in memory of the Schuchart Family. Over the years, the wear and tear, fragments of the more fragile areas of the statue cracked or missing, and chipping paint called a friend of the parish to totally refurbish our Pietà. To repaint it with its former colors would have shown the flaws; it was decided to paint it all one color, especially in keeping with the make-up of our parish—all one people. After months and months of prayerful restoration, our Pietà finally came home, quite appropriately, the day before Ash Wednesday.

As we celebrate Holy Week and Easter, we are grateful for Michelangelo’s reminder of the ultimate gift in our midst. The St. Leo Pietà has been given a new life; let us all celebrate a season of renewal in our own lives as Lent ends and as we rejoice in the hope and joy of Easter’s Alleluias!

- Stephanie Sepate

Second Sunday of Lent

From Fr. Jim:  
February 28, 2021

Bivuye kwa Padiri Jim:  
Februari 28, 2021
(African translation)

de Padre Jim . . .
28 de Febrero de 2021

             Traditionally, Lent calls us to prayer, fasting and almsgiving.  In these ways we align ourselves more according to God’s ways and we depend more on God’s grace and we can become less dependent on the ways of the world and secular attitudes.  Also, we become strengthened to say no to sin and temptation.  As Ash Wednesday reminds us and the Gospel from last Sunday:  “Repent and believe in the Gospel.”

             I want to highlight some opportunities for almsgiving or works of charity during Lent that we are being asked to consider doing with all the parishes in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.   One opportunity is the Catholic Ministry Appeal (CMA).  You have received in the mail an invitation from Archbishop Schnurr to participate in this appeal and to pray about what level of response you want to participate. 

             Today we hear the Gospel of the Transfiguration of the Lord.  As the Lord was transfigured before the eyes of the Apostles, so shall we be transfigured and share in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The Paschal Mystery of the Lord is definitely about transforming our lives into sharing the glory of the Lord.  The church, in the image of Christ, is likewise about transforming lives and helping all God’s people move in the direction of the kingdom of heaven.

             The CMA is about transforming lives.  Our pledges to the CMA put food on the table for hungry families through Catholic Charities and social services.  We help others hear the call to priesthood through vocational outreach and support the education of seminarians, deacons, and lay ministers at the Athenaeum/Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary.  We assure that chaplains will bring God’s presence on college campuses, in hospitals, and in prisons.  We bring hope to children with communication difficulties, and their families, at St. Rita School for the Deaf, and we provide continuing support for our retired archdiocesan priests who generously serve us all their lives.  Our pledges will help fund new initiatives to encourage young Catholics to more fully engage themselves in the life of the Church, and to reach out to those who have drifted away from the Church. 

             St. Leo, for many years has participated in Operation Rice Bowl.  We are again this year.  Information and donation boxes are at the doors of church.  This is an almsgiving exercise that the whole family can do together.

            Based on last week’s Gospel, let us learn to confront sinful ways in our lives.  Please try to identify a major temptation in your personal life that could be destructive to you and/or to your family.  Focus your energy on it this Lent and pray for a change in your attitude to resist the temptation.  Stay in and with the Lord in this and share the victory of God’s love and presence over sin and death.  Can you also name a temptation against the “diversity in unity” that characterizes our parish?  Are there any jealousies, judgements, prejudices, fears, concerns that could be destructive to our unity as a parish?  How can we, as a parish community, stay together with the Lord and in the Lord to address these concerns and continue to be a place and a home that welcomes all people?   

             I encourage everyone to participate in some forms of prayer, fasting and works of charity.  Let’s celebrate the power of God’s love over sin and death and grow deeper in our relationship with the Lord and each other.  What transforming love we have been given and such transforming love we can share!