Dear friends in the Lord,
After the wonderful feast of the Epiphany yesterday - with its Octave - and the Holy Family tomorrow I have finally been able to ‘come up for air’ after the joyous Masses of the Octave to wish you, and all your dear ones, many graces of this Christmas Season. Let us try to keep the spirit of this season alive in our homes, families and wider groups. The post-Christmas sales are here and some are even finished (and even the hot cross buns have appeared!) but Christmas itself lasts until the feast of the Purification (on February 2nd), even if the spirit slowly diminishes as the days of the Octave of Christmas and then of Epiphany slip behind us. I wanted to assure all of you that I kept you all very much in the three Holy Masses of Christmas night and day asking that the Lord would bless all of your efforts, especially in Adventus30, praying that they bore fruit in abundance in your spiritual lives.
On February 5, 2023 falls Septuagesima Sunday! Can you believe it?! Of course that means we have less than a month to prepare for Septuagesima70 which will begin that day. I wanted to make you aware of it, and where you can find the details (here: ) and, moreover, to have it on your radar for planning purposes. The pre-Lent period of Septuagesima etc. is not Lent so no need to be too worried just yet, but it is good to have it in the diary and to form a resolution to make a good Lenten season this coming year.
Much like Adventus30, the Iria Foundation will host Septuagesima70 on its site, and for those who have signed up there, you will receive regular emails daily which can be clicked on and will take you directly to the relevant message/meditation/martyrology without having to go looking for it. I have been working with a friend to streamline the Septuagesima70 site and blog hosting, so that it will all work a little more smoothly, and will not have us rely so much on other platforms, and particularly will allow us to move away from social media, like Telegram. That said, we will host the weekly colloquia (of which there will be two times available for men and two times available for women, as it was done last year) on the Zoom platform. Links will be available on the site, but also will be sent to those who are signed up and the zoom format will allow for interaction for those interested. We haven’t quite solved the messaging system (hosted currently on Telegram) but we may still do that yet before Septuagesima70 formerly commences. Stay tuned!
Finally a few thank-you’s are in order. To Dylan Shogren who, faithfully, behind the scenes makes all the daily posts and does so much of the ‘back of house’ stuff must go the biggest thank you. It is a demanding and somewhat thankless regular task and I, for one, am grateful for what he does for us. You might stop and offer and Ave for Dylan his wife Camilla, and his two children (one in utero). Thank you Dylan.
To Marisa Moloney who has been working to refine the website goes another big thank you too. There is much still to do, and Marisa also has many thoughts that we want to incorporate, and is doing all of this pro bono. Please spare an Ave too for Marisa and Joe and their eight children.
Finally, spare a prayer for your chaplain. The whole Septuagesima/Adventus experience has been a whirlwind, but one that is clearly intended by Our Lord who seems to continue to sustain it in being, and to draw such great fruit from it. (I have had so many people tell me how much it has improved their spiritual life. Deo Gratias!) This makes all the inconveniences and difficulties that the devil throws up all worthwhile and as nothing.
Let us all too pray for each other that the blessings of the coming year will include many of the blessings that Our Lord wants to give us through living, meaningfully and fully, Our Holy Mother the Church’s penitential seasons.
With continued blessings of the Season, I remain yours,
Semper in Domino et Domina,
(And Dylan Shogren)