Lenten Rewind: An Invitation from Our Pastor

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Thank you for your generosity and patience during these last six months. I’m especially grateful for our teams of volunteers who’ve made our resumption of public Masses possible, and to all those volunteers who made our modified Founders Day so special for us all. Please keep our dedicated teachers in your prayers as they lead our students through this unusual semester.

In some ways the pandemic heightened our experience of Lent 2020, but in other ways it deprived us of the full liturgical experience of Lent.  As a way for us to come together in faith, prayer and action during a very stressful and divisive time in our Church and nation, our parish will join other parishes of our diocese in a “Lenten rewind” called: “Lenten Rewind: 40 Days of Prayer, Fasting, and Penance for Peace, Unity and Healing”, beginning on September 25th and concluding on November 3rd. This great undertaking, initiated by Father David Boettner, VG, of the cathedral parish, will be a blessing for our parish and school family, and it will help us proclaim to the greater Oak Ridge community our desire to bring our faith to a confusing and troubling time.  This is not intended to be partisan in any way, but rather to give us an opportunity to unite in our common identity as children of a loving Father.

Patron Saints

Our Lenten Rewind patron saints will be:
FOR PEACE: Our Lady of Oak Ridge–named local patroness of peaceful atomic research and race relations, by Bishop Adrian of Nashville in 1958.
FOR FREEDOM: St. Josephine Bahkita–born in Sudan in 1869 and enslaved as a child, later brought to freedom by the Canossian Daughters of Charity.
FOR SERVICE: St. Francis of Assisi–13th century deacon, penitent and mystic who spent his life in service to Christ and the poor.


We encourage everyone to adopt a special routine of penitential prayer, fasting and almsgiving during these 40 days.

Sacramental Confession and Holy Communion

Even though the Sunday obligation to attend Mass has been removed, for now, try to go to Confession at least once during the 40 days and to try to receive Holy Communion at least once a week during the 40 days.

Kick-Off September

We will begin on September 25th with Masses at 6:30 am, 8 am and 12:10 pm. In addition to the seven usual opportunities for Confession each week, confessions will also be heard at noon on September 25th.

Stations of the Cross

Consider making the Way of the Cross on Fridays during this Lenten Rewind, either in the church or along the walking trail. If you are homebound, then you can make the Way of the Cross at home.

Prayer for Peace and Blessings

Many parishioners are already joining together in prayer for peace and blessings upon the upcoming federal elections, an initiative begun on August 15th. If you would like to be part of this effort, then please meditate upon the mysteries of our salvation with the Holy Rosary every day through October 7th, praying for peace and blessings, and offering thanksgiving. If possible, arrange for your family to come to the church and pray before our side altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Saint Francis of Assisi Day

The annual Blessing of Animals for Saint Francis of Assisi Day will take place on Sunday, October 4th at noon in the Marian Courtyard.

All Saints

Sunday, November 1st, is the Solemnity of All Saints (beginning at Vespers Saturday evening), and we will have the usual Dominical (Lord’s day) Mass schedule (Sat. @ 5:30 pm; Sun. @ 8 am, 10:30 am, 2 pm and 6 pm).

All Souls

Monday, November 2nd, is the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, and we will have Mass at 6:30 am, 8 am and 12:10 pm. This is an important day to visit our columbarium or the Catholic sections of area cemeteries to pray for our departed parishioners. (N.B.: the usual evening Masses for all the faithful departed will instead take place according to the following schedule, due to seating restrictions and sanitizing requirements caused by the pandemic: Tuesday, November 3rd @ 6 pm in Spanish; Wednesday, November 4th @ 6 pm; Wednesday November 11th @ 6 pm; and Wednesday November 18th @ 6 pm.)

November 3rd: Election Day

Please join us for Mass at 6:30 am, 8 am or (in Spanish) at 6 pm. The Most Blessed Sacrament will be solemnly exposed on the high altar from 8:30 am to 6 pm.

Prayer to Our Lady of Oak Ridge (Please pray this prayer every morning during the Lenten Rewind)

Pray, Our Lady of Oak Ridge, for us all.
Pray for humanity: for those who suffer poverty and injustice,
violence and hatred, terror and war.
Help us to contemplate with the Holy Rosary the mysteries of Christ,
Who is our lasting peace,
so that we may all commit ourselves to a persevering dedication to peace:
in our hearts and homes,
among neighbors and among nations.
Look with special attention upon this city of Oak Ridge,
and encourage us to invite all our searching neighbors into the mercy and peace of your Son.
Guide us to become the face of our Heavenly Christ as we serve others here on earth.
Pray for us, Our Lady of Oak Ridge, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Prayer for God’s blessings upon our American republic (Please pray this prayer every evening during the Lenten Rewind)

We pray you, O God of might, wisdom, and justice,
through whom authority is rightly administered,
laws are enacted, and judgment decreed,
assist with your Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude
the President of these United States,
that his administration may be conducted in righteousness,
and be eminently useful to your people, over whom he presides;
by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion;
by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy;
and by restraining vice and immorality.

Let the light of your divine wisdom direct
the deliberations of Congress,
and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws
framed for our rule and government,
so that they may tend to the preservation of peace,
the promotion of national happiness,
the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge;
and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty.

We pray for the governor of this state,
for the members of the assembly,
for all judges, magistrates, and other officers
who are appointed to guard our political welfare,
that they may be enabled, by your powerful protection,
to discharge the duties of their respective stations
with honesty and ability.

We recommend likewise, to your unbounded mercy,
all our fellow citizens throughout the United States,
that we may be blessed in the knowledge
and sanctified in the observance of your most holy law;
that we may be preserved in union,
and in that peace which the world cannot give;
and after enjoying the blessings of this life,
be admitted to those which are eternal.
Grant this, we beseech you, O Lord of mercy,
through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.

–Archbishop John Carroll, SJ’s 1791 “Prayer for Government”

In Christ,
Father Shelton

Cover art from the printed program used for “An Experiment in Social Concern”, a series of public forums for the Oak Ridge community sponsored by Saint Mary Parish, October through November, 1968.