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Lent: March 26th

Saturday of the Third Week of Lent

Other Commemorations: St. Ludger, Bishop (RM)


March 26, 2022 (Readings on USCCB website)


Saturday of the Third Week of Lent: Rejoicing in this annual celebration of our Lenten observance, we pay, O Lord, that, with our hearts set on the paschal mysteries, we may be gladdened by their full effects. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.


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Communion Antiphon, Lk 18:13:

The tax collector stood at a distance, beating his breast and saying: O God, be merciful to me, a sinner.

The gifts received by us from God are derived not from ourselves but from the Holy Spirit, and are to be used, in a spirit of humility, in the service of the Church and of our brothers.

The parable of the Pharisee and the Publican is a striking reminder that we have no grounds for self-satisfaction. There are two classes of men, said Pascal: saints, who consider themselves guilty of every fault, and sinners, who do not feel guilty of anything. The former are humble and God will exalt them; the latter are proud and will be humbled by punishment. Going even deeper, St. Irenaeus defined man as "the receptacle of God's gifts."

God is not content with calling on us to observe His commandments; He gives us His Holy Spirit to transform our lives and make them truly Christian. —St. Andrew Daily Missal

The Roman Martyrology today commemorates St. Ludger of Utrecht, a missionary among the Frisians and Saxons, founder of Werden Abbey, and the first Bishop of Münster in Westphalia. He has been called the "Apostle of Saxony."

Today's Station Church >>>

Fifty years ago, Saturday was the day when many Catholics “went to confession,” which meant acknowledging the sins and failures of the past week, accepting a penance (usually in the form of a brief series of prayers), and then receiving sacramental absolution. The practice of “going to confession” has decreased dramatically throughout the Catholic world over the past half-century, despite the Church’s efforts to make it more accessible and less threatening (which it rarely was, the mythology surrounding the dark confessional notwithstanding). At precisely the time in Western culture when various forms of psychotherapy are flourishing, Catholics have increasingly abandoned the ancient forms of cleansing guilt to which they once came readily. A diminished sense of sin surely has something to do with this anomaly. So, perhaps, does a too-easy sense of familiarity with holy things, such that twenty-first-century postmoderns do not feel any need to be cleansed before approaching the Lord. Both attitudes deserve reexamination during the pilgrimage of Lent.

In his 1984 postsynodal apostolic exhortation, Reconcilatio et Paenitentia, Pope John Paul II characteristically tried to reframe the Church’s thinking about “going to confession” and receiving the Sacrament of Penance: what sometimes seemed a strange or arcane Catholic practice, John Paul proposed, should in fact be understood in terms of the personal drama of every human life, which is the drama of freedom. Taking freedom seriously means taking the abuse of freedom, which is sin, seriously. And to take sin seriously requires us to name the wounds in our lives as the first step toward their being healed. Thus, John Paul taught, the very fact of someone kneeling to name the wounds he or she bears adds to that man’s or woman’s human dignity. Confession of sins, far from being demeaning or dehumanizing, is liberating and ennobling.

Regular confession of sins is also, the pope suggested, an essential part of configuring oneself to Christ, for the Cross of Christ is the fountainhead from which all reconciliation between God and humanity flows. Indeed, the very geometry of the Cross expresses the two dimensions of the reconciliation every sensitive soul seeks: the vertical beam symbolizes our need for reconciliation with God, while the horizontal crossbeam represents the imperative of God for the guilt we carry along the journey of life; the human family craves reconciliation within itself. Both aspirations are embodied in the cross.

In an interview with a local newspaper in 2011, Cardinal Francis E. George, OMI, the archbishop of Chicago, said that he intended to devote more of his priestly life to the ministry of the confessional as he entered his meridian seventies. “The most important conversations on the planet take place in the confessional,” the cardinal said. It’s where you have a soul who bares who they are before God and you’re witness to that. It’s God who forgives, but you’re witness to that and you try to assist. If [I] can do that well for just a few people, I’ll be able to tell the Lord…I did a few things right anyway.” And those penitents will be able to approach the glory of the Lord cleansed, like Moses, Aaron, and the priests of the Old Covenant.

—George Weigel, Roman Pilgrimage: The Station Churches

St. Ludger
St. Ludger was born in Friesland about the year 743. His father, a nobleman of the first rank, at the child's own request, committed him very young to the care of St. Gregory, the disciple of St. Boniface, and his successors in the government of the see of Utrecht. Gregory educated him in his monastery and gave him the clerical tonsure. Ludger, desirous of further improvement, passed over into England and spent four years and a half under Alcuin, who was rector of a famous school at York.

In 773 he returned home, and St. Gregory dying in 776, his successor, Alberic, compelled our Saint to receive the holy order of priesthood and employed him for several years in preaching the Word of God in Friesland, where he converted great numbers, founded several monasteries, and built many churches.

The pagan Saxons ravaging the country, Ludger traveled to Rome to consult Pope Adrian II, what course to take, and what he thought God required of him. He then retired for three years and a half to Monte Casino, where he wore the habit of the Order and conformed to the practice of the rule during his stay, but made no religious vows.

In 787, Charlemagne overcame the Saxons and conquered Friesland and the coast of the Germanic Ocean as far as Denmark. Ludger, hearing this, returned into East Friesland, where he converted the Saxons to the Faith, as he also did the province of Westphalia. He founded the monastery of Werden, twenty-nine miles from Cologne.

In 802, Hildebald, Archbishop of Cologne, not regarding his strenuous resistance, ordained him Bishop of Munster. He joined in his diocese five cantons of Friesland which he had converted and also founded the monastery of Helmstad in the duchy of Brunswick.

Being accused to the Emperor Charlemagne of wasting his income and neglecting the embellishment of churches, this prince ordered him to appear at court. The morning after his arrival the emperor's chamberlain brought him word that his attendance was required. The Saint, being then at his prayers, told the officer that he would follow him as soon as he had finished them. He was sent for three several times before he was ready, which the courtiers represented as contempt of his Majesty, and the emperor, with some emotion, asked him why he had made him wait so long, though he had sent for him so often. The bishop answered that though he had the most profound respect for his Majesty, yet God was infinitely above him; that whilst we are occupied with Him, it is our duty to forget everything else. This answer made such an impression on the emperor that he dismissed him with honor and disgraced his accusers.

St. Ludger was favored with the gifts of miracles and prophecy. His last sickness, though violent, did not hinder him from continuing his functions to the very last day of his life, which was Passion Sunday, on which day he preached very early in the morning, said Mass towards nine, and preached again before night, foretelling to those that were about him that he should die the following night, and fixing upon the place in his monastery of Werden where he chose to be interred.

He died accordingly on the 26th of March, at midnight.
—Excerpted from Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]

Patronage: Groningen, Deventer, East Frisia, Roman Catholic Diocese of Münster, Essen-Werden

Highlights and Things to Do:

Saturday in the Third Week of Lent
Station with Santa Susanna (St. Susan):

The Station is in the church of St. Susanna, virgin and martyr of Rome. The first Christian place of worship was built here in the 4th century. It was probably the titulus of Pope Caius (283-296). Caius was St. Susanna's uncle, and tradition claims that the church stands on the site of her martyrdom. The church is now the national parish of the United States since 1922.

There is a temporary closure (2022), and currently the substitute Station Church is S. Maria della Vittoria (St. Mary of Victory).

For further information on the Station Churches, see The Stational Church.