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Ordained in 2011, Father Friel served for five years as Parochial Vicar at St. Anselm Parish in Northeast Philly. He is currently studying toward an STL in sacred liturgy at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
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“I still haven’t made up my mind whether I shall publish it all. Some people are so humorless, so uncharitable, and so absurdly wrong-headed, that one would probably do far better to relax and enjoy life than worry oneself to death trying to instruct or entertain a public which will only despise one’s efforts, or at least feel no gratitude for them. Most readers know nothing about canon law. Many regard it with contempt and find everything heavy going that isn’t completely lowbrow. Some are so grimly serious that they disapprove of all humor. Others come to different conclusions every time they stand up or sit down. They seize upon your publications, as a wrestler seizes upon his opponent’s hair, and use them to drag you down, while they themselves remain quite invulnerable, because their barren pates are completely bald, so there’s nothing for you to get hold of.”
— St. Thomas More to Peter Gilles, 1516

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Beautiful Savior
published 13 February 2013 by Fr. David Friel

E HAVE COME AGAIN to our yearly ritual for beginning the season of Lent. We join together with our fellow Catholics all around the world today by receiving ashes upon our heads. Why do we do this? I submit that there are two reasons.

The first reason we receive ashes upon our heads is to remind us that we are finite beings. Our lives on this earth have a definite beginning and a definite end. As the Book of Genesis warns us, we are all dust, and unto dust we shall return (Genesis 3:19).

The second reason we receive these ashes is to remind us that we are poor sinners. In our modern world, it’s not popular to admit our faults. But at least today, on Ash Wednesday, we can publicly acknowledge that every single day of our lives we offend God in numerous ways. We turn away from His love, and choose to reject His plan for us.

Because we are finite and because we are sinners, we do not deserve eternal life. On our own, we have no right to heaven. The only way we could possibly reach heaven is if we had a Savior Who was not finite, but infinite, and Who was not a sinner, but sinless.

Fortunately, we have such a Savior. We have the kind of Savior foreseen by the Prophet Joel: “gracious and merciful is He, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment” (Joel 2:13). We have a beautiful Savior! Through the prayer, fasting, and almsgiving we undertake this Lent, may we come to appreciate more fully the gift God has given us in Jesus Christ, our Savior!