Picture courtesy of Archdiocese of Toronto Blog

At the start of the General Audience on Ash Wednesday, our Holy Father spoke about his announced abdication.  “Dear brothers and sisters, as you know I decided”, he began only to be interrupted with prolonged applause. “Thank you for your kindness” he responded and began again. “I decided to resign from the ministry that the Lord had entrusted me on April 19, 2005. I did this in full freedom” the Pope added forcefully, “for the good of the Church after having prayed at length and examined my conscience before God, well aware of the gravity of this act”.
But, continued Pope Benedict, “I was also well aware that I was no longer able to fulfill the Petrine Ministry with the strength that it demands. What sustains and illuminates me is the certainty that the Church belongs to Christ whose care and guidance will never be lacking. I thank you all for the love and prayer with which you have accompanied me”.
Again the Pope was interrupted by lengthy applause, and visibly moved he continued: “I have felt, almost physically, your prayers in these days which are not easy for me, the strength which the love of the Church and your prayers brings to me. Continue to pray for me and for the future Pope, the Lord will guide us!”
As the cheers and applause subsided, Pope Benedict then turned to his prepared catechesis which focused on the season of Lent when we are called to make “more room for God in our lives.”

All Fridays are days of abstinence from meat, but Catholics may substitute special acts of charity or piety (almsgiving, prayer, works of mercy) on this day.  The law of abstinence binds those who are aged 14 and up.  Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are mandatory days of fasting.  On fast days, Church discipline permits one to take a main and two lesser meatless meals which do not equal the main meal.  The law of fasting binds those from 18 – 59 years of age.

In place of our monthly reflection on the Creed, this coming Tues., February 19 at 7:30 pm, our parish priests will answer your questions!  [Submit any questions you may have on our Catholic Faith or church teachings to our priests in advance (Place in box located outside the Parish Office or send by email to office@stjosephsstreetsville.com].