Home/Stay Informed/All Diocesan Articles

All Diocesan Articles




Vocations: From ‘Ashes to Life,’ Lent is a Time for Spiritual Renewal

Posted on March 26, 2022 in: Vocations, Lent

Vocations: From ‘Ashes to Life,’ Lent is a Time for Spiritual Renewal

Our Lenten journey began with Ash Wednesday on March 2. Catholics from throughout our diocese came to Ash Wednesday Masses and services and were marked with ashes. These ashes represented our mortality. They reminded us that we are dust and to dust we will return. 

Yet, as Pope Francis reminds us, “upon this dust of ours, God blew his Spirit of life.” 

Our Lenten journey, which started with the ashes of Ash Wednesday represents this passage from death to life. We are dust, yes, but dust that has been loved and called into life by God. Thus, Lent is a time to remember that the goal of our existence is sanctity: a movement from dust to life. 

This movement is captured well in the stories of the saints. It is captured especially in the story of Simon Peter from a few Sundays ago, when the Lord called Simon, the fisherman, into a new life of “catching men”(v.10). 

“This is what he does in each of us,” Pope Francis said in his remarks on this gospel passage. “He asks us to welcome him on the boat of our life, in order to set out anew with him and to sail a new sea, one which proves to be full of surprises.” 

Only with God’s help can we embark on the journey of faith that leads us to new life. Only with God’s help can we accept our true calling and follow the path that leads us to God.

This is why the ashes of Ash Wednesday are typically traced on our foreheads in the sign of the cross. They represent more than just our mortality or our finitude. They also represent our repentance, our need for God’s grace and mercy, and our hope for eternal life in Christ.

Again, as Pope Francis tweeted a couple years ago: “Lent is a time of grace, a time for recognizing that our lowly ashes are loved by God and for letting God gaze upon us with love, and in this way change our lives. We were put in this world to go from ashes to life.” The key to this change in life is recognizing both our ashes and His love in the Lord’s personal address to each of us. 

Simon Peter, we recall, was surprised and uncertain before this call from the Lord. Perhaps the knowledge of his own inadequacy tempted him to reject it. “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (v. 8). And yet, as Pope Francis reminds us, Simon Peter says these words on his knees before the One whom by this point he recognizes as ‘Lord.’ 

It’s not that Simon Peter merely recognized his own sinfulness, his ‘ashes,’ so to speak, and that’s it. But that he recognized himself to be before the One who had drawn close to him still, despite his sinfulness, despite his failings, despite his ‘ashes.’ For him, as it was, is, and forever will be for us: it is all grace, all mercy, all the time. 

From ashes to life, the Lord calls each of us to new life in order to become witnesses to God’s goodness and mercy in the world. In what ways is the Spirit of God opening a new horizon before you now to cooperate in his mission? How might you place greater trust in God’s word and the plan that God has for your life this Lent? 

“Do not be afraid”, the Lord says to us. “From now on you will be …..”. 

- Father Jonathan Ficara, Director of Vocations

Most Viewed Articles of the Last 30 Days

Addiction to Adoration: One Man's Spiritual Journey
There is an old saying that could very well describe Brother John Blaschik’s journey to the Trappists: “Every saint has a past and every sinner a future.” Not too long before becoming a monk, he was on a very different path — a path to perdition. Blaschik is a monk of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (also known as the Trappists). He resides at Our Lady of the Holy Cross Abbey in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. He leads a life of relative simplicity, silence and separation from the dominant culture, following the Rule of St....

Read More

Reverend George J. Richards Jr. - Obituary
The Reverend George Richards Jr., JCL, of Middletown, passed away at St Joseph's Living Center in Windham, Thursday, May 11, 2023, at the age of 69. Born at the Naval Hospital in Groton, he was the beloved son of the late Margaret and George Richards Sr. Father George is a graduate of St. Michael's Parochial School, Pawcatuck. He graduated from Saint Bernard School, Montville, in 1972, and Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., in 1976. He earned his Licentiate in Canon Law (J.C.L.) degree from the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., in 2000. ...

Read More

They Come to Serve: Diaconate Ordinations in June and July
Join us at The Cathedral of St. Patrick for two momentous celebrations of faith and service!  Mark your calendar for the Transitional Diaconate Ordination on Saturday, June 3, 2023, at 10:30 am. Be inspired as three devoted men take a significant step towards their priesthood journey. Their unwavering commitment and spiritual preparation will be on display during this sacred ceremony. Then, save the date for the Permanent Diaconate Ordination on July 8, 2023, at 10:30 am. Witness the culmination of years of formation and discernment as five dedicated men, balanci...

Read More

Sr. Giselle Brouillard-Obituary

Posted on May 12, 2023 in: News, Vocations


Sr. Giselle Brouillard-Obituary
Sr. Giselle Brouillard November 20, 1932 – May 6, 2023 Sr. Giselle Brouillard, 90, a member of the Daughters of the Holy Spirit, died on May 6, 2023 at St. Joseph Living Center in Windham, CT. Born Giselle Béatrice Brouillard in Waterbury, CT on November 20, 1932, the child of the late Antonio and Marie Jeanne (Descoteaux) Brouillard, she entered religious life in Putnam, CT in 1949 and made her religious profession on August 23, 1952 at the Motherhouse in St. Brieuc, France.  She was then known as Sr. Jeanne Antoine. She earned a B.A. in Education at...

Read More

This Weekend: Annual Seminary Education Fund Appeal
April 20, 2023 My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, As we prepare to support our annual diocesan Seminary Education Fund Collection, I would like to thank you for your constant generosity to the formation of those young men discerning and preparing to serve our Diocese of Norwich for years to come. I hear from so many of you that you are praying for vocations daily at home and in your parish churches in the presence of Our Lord. These prayers are the foundation of the work that we do in creating a culture of discerning vocation for all young people in our Diocese. ...

Read More


Annual Catholic Appeal






Signup for Weekly Newsletter

    Recently Added Galleries
    Click to view album: Rite of Election
    Click to view album: Mass of Ordination  for Fr. Jacob Ramos
    Click to view album: Mass of Ordination for Father Lawrence Barile
    Click to view album: Palm Sunday
    Latest Articles
    Deacon William McGann, III - 1944~2023
    St. Bernard, Mercy High Schools Hold Graduations
    Mercy Chamber Choir Wins Contest, Will Open for Foreigner During Their Farewell Tour
    We Can Help. Promise to Protect-Pledge to Heal
    Why is June the Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus?
    Memorial Day Masses Honor Sacrifices of Service Members
    Knights of Columbus Doc Explores Extraordinary Life of Fr. Emil Kapaun
    Employment Opportunities in the Diocese of Norwich

    Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich
    201 Broadway
    Norwich, CT 06360-4328
    Phone: 860-887-9294