”He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’”     This is Laetare Sunday.  It’s the Fourth Sunday of Lent – the Sunday of joy and rejoicing for so near is Easter.  Our Gospel is the powerful story of the Prodigal Son.  It’s an inspiring story of God’s tender mercy, forgiveness and unconditional love.  It’s a powerful story to remind us of the depth and breadth of God’s love and care for us.  It also reminds us of how we should embrace God and forgive others.   We’ve all had stories and experiences of forgiveness.  It’s a blessing beyond words.  Who in your life do you need to forgive?  Even more, how do you need to experience the outpouring of God’s unconditional love and forgiveness in your own life.

…In the story of the Prodigal Son, we see the unconditional love and forgiveness of a parent and child.  The season of Lent is a special time for all of us to experience the grace and mercy of God in our lives.  The Lord wants to be the Loving father who reaches out to each of us….embracing us with the most eternal embrace.   How can you allow yourself to experience the forgiveness and unconditional love God has?  One way is to take advantage of the opportunity of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  You can find the complete schedule in today’s bulletin.

…The story of the Prodigal Son also reminds and challenges us to do the work we need to do in our own families this Lent and Easter.  Who is the child we need to embrace and welcome home?  Who is the parent we need to ‘return’ to with words of reconciliation?  Pray for the grace in these Lenten days to be instruments of reconciliation and peace.  The word ‘prodigal’ means lavish.  How can we be lavish with our forgiveness, our love, and desire to heal?   In our second reading this weekend Saint Paul calls us to be ‘ambassadors of reconciliation.’  How can we use these days to bring healing and peace to our hearts, our homes and our families?

…Over the past few weeks many of our members have invited children, family members, neighbors and friends to join them for Mass.  Many have said ‘yes’!  How can we use these final weeks of Lent, Easter and the renewal of our Church home to invite our loved ones to join us at the Table of the Lord?   We all want to get to heaven and we want our loved ones with us.  Invite them to join you here at God’s table with the prayer that we will be one for all eternity at the Table of the Lord.

…God bless our Women’s Guild.  They did an amazing job in making about 800 nut/poppyseed rolls for our community.  They will be available after Masses this weekend.  They make for great Easter eating!!!  Please support the Guild.

…Work is coming along wonderfully in the Church.  We should be all set for Easter.  Please continue to pray for the craftsman and workers who are sharing their amazing talents and working hard to take care of God’s House.   Another video update should be available this weekend as well.   We had some great meetings with our liturgical ministers.   They were excited to see the Church and even more eager to serve at the Table of the Lord.  I pray that you will be pleased and inspired by the good we have done together for the glory of God.

…Many thanks to a few more families who made a commitment to the building fund this week.  Thanks, also, to those who are using the monthly building envelopes, paying on their pledges and supporting our weekly collection.   Your support makes all the good things we do at Saint Ambrose possible.  May God bless you for all your goodness and support. 

…The steeple cross is clearly in the wrong direction.  Hopefully, it should be corrected this week.   In any direction, the steeple stands as a beacon for Christ’s light – and love – and mercy to our community.   Some asked why the color… the options were few.  When the entire exterior is completed, this will tie the Cross and Celtic Trinity together.  It should also wear well for years and decades to come.

…This coming week you will see work being done in the parking lot in front of the Church.  The reality is that we need to ‘float’ the 18 inch difference between the interior floor grade and the parking lot.  Once complete, the front of the Church will have a clear traffic pattern, drop off zone, and tie together with the front of HIlkert Hall.

…As we look to return to the Church, we are looking for individuals who can help to clean and take care of God’s house.   If you can give an hour or two a month, please contact Amanda McCrary ajmm18@aol.com.

…Our Fish Fry team is doing an incredible job this season.  We are so blessed.   Please join us every Friday night for great food and amazing people.  The proceeds are helping us do some of the concrete work in front of Hilkert Hall.  Please join us.

…Over the past six months, you’ve read and heard about Stephen Ministry.  Eighteen of our members have spent these months learning, praying, and preparing to serve as Stephen Ministers.  Quite simply, they are trained to offer help, hope and support for our members who are dealing with a difficult time in their life (grief, sadness, transition, etc).  It’s very much is the spirit of Pope Francis who calls us to ‘accompaniment’ – walking with one another in faith as we journey through life.  Recently, the Stephen Ministers have been commissioned.  Several are already working with individuals.  It’s a great way to continue the care and compassion of Christ.

…Save the date – the weekend after Easter – Divine Mercy Sunday, we will offer the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick for those who are in need of God’s healing grace and peace.  It’s a perfect time to invite family and friends to join you.

…On Wednesday of Holy Week, April 17 at 7 pm, our wonderful Music Ministry is offering an evening of Music and Song to help all of us reflect on the unconditional love of God in Christ.  It will help us prepare our minds and hearts to celebration the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Please make plans to attend.

…We are halfway through the Lenten Season.  How’s your Lent?  Are you using the Little Black Book?  Are you true to your Lenten commitments?  Today’s Gospel is a clear and powerful reminder that every moment is a good moment to return ‘home’ to the Lord.  Have a blessed week.