149 South Pine Creek Road, Fairfield, CT

Real Human Love

Dear Parishioners,

So, what’s it going to be this Wednesday? Flowers and chocolate? Or ashes and fish? For Christians, it gets all mashed up when Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day vie for importance on the same calendar space. Both speak about love, but in different languages. Valentine’s Day celebrates romantic love, while Ash Wednesday ushers in the time of Lent, the time to prepare to celebrate the divine love implicit in the Paschal Mystery. The traditional way we prepare is through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving—which is essentially a call to simplify our lives and recapture the sense of sacrifice which must be at the core of real human love.

Simplify. As always, our parish offers many opportunities in these weeks to help you with that. Try the simple prayer of Taizé on Friday nights in the church. Pick out a book to read in the library in the back of the church or on the second floor of the Parish Hall. Come to a lecture here or at Fairfield U. All simple things which can have a great impact. But there’s one Lenten tradition we have, our Saturday night soup suppers, that combine all three pillars of this season: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

After any of the 6pm Saturday evening Masses during Lent, all are invited to the Parish Hall for a simple supper of soup, bread, and water. The first thing you see when you walk into the room is a large covered box with a hole cut into the top. You are asked to drop into that box whatever you might have spent on dinner that night. At the end of Lent, all the money collected will be given to Merton House to help stock their food pantry. The next thing you’ll see is a bunch of bare tables. No fancy linen tablecloths. No candles or centerpieces. There are paper placemats for those who would like them. The point is “simple.”

The main attraction is the soup, which is set up in the back of the room. There are anywhere from ten to twenty plus pots on a long table, each with someone waiting to serve you. The soups are all homemade. Each week, we ask a different group in the parish to make, serve, and clean up. One week it’s the choir, another it’s the lectors, or Eucharistic ministers, or religious education families. The last two weeks are all the men in the parish and all the women, so all are invited to participate. Try as many soups as you like, have as much as you like. If there is any left over, it is available for take-out for a couple of dollars a pint.

Just soup. Just bread. Just water. So simple. Yet, the sense of community which develops around those elements is amazing! Please join us some Saturday night in the next few weeks for a meal which will not only nourish your body, but your soul as well…

Father John