FALL RIVER, Mass. — The Catholic parishes of the Greater Fall River area will be jointly sponsoring a Lenten Mission from March 9-12 each night at four different host parishes.
The mission will be given by Father Paul Halladay, a major in the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps and a priest of the Archdiocese of Mobile, Ala. During his 11 years in the Army, he has served in Afghanistan, Iraq, West Point and various other installations.
The theme for the mission will be “Lenten Lessons from a Combat Chaplain” and will involve different meditations on the Spiritual combat of Lent and the victory of Easter.
Father Halladay will illustrate his lessons by focusing on various Catholic saints and heroes who have distinguished themselves in combat, like St. Joan of Arc, St. Martin of Tours, Father Vincent Capodanno and Father Emil Kapaun.
The mission will take place on March 9, at St. Bernadette Church, 529 Eastern Avenue, Fall River; on March 10, at St. Bernard Church, 32 South Main Street, Assonet; on March 11, at St. Michael Church, 189 Essex Street, Fall River; and on March 12, at St. Anthony of the Desert Church, 300 North Eastern Avenue, Fall River.
Father Halladay’s presentations will take place each night at 7 p.m. within the context of Mass. The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be offered every night from 6-6:45 p.m. at the respective churches.
There will also be a shorter version of his mission talk offered each day as the homily during the 12:05 p.m. daily Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral, 327 Second Street, Fall River.
The purpose of a Lenten Mission, Father Halladay explained, is to “help us to prepare for a Sacramental encounter with Jesus Christ at the very significant celebration of Easter.”
“The Triduum, the three days when we annually remember the Passion and death of Jesus Christ, is the D-Day of our Spiritual lives: Holy Thursday, the eve of battle, and Good Friday, the day of combat,” he continued. “While Holy Saturday looks and feels like a day of defeat, Easter Sunday shows us that from what appears to be defeat, God fashions a victory like no one or nothing could have ever anticipated.”
He said that his goal for the mission is to prepare people to meet Christ at Easter by sharing some of the stories from his time as a combat chaplain in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He encouraged people to come to the mission even if they might be able to attend only one night.
The mission is free of charge. Each of the nights of the mission, the hosting parishes will be having a free reception for attendees in their respective parish halls.