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When the Lenten season arrives this week on Ash Wednesday, many of us will begin to fast from a food or an activity we enjoy as a way of strengthening our ability to resist temptation. To mark the beginning of this 40-day period, many Christian denominations will literally receive a mark on their foreheads in the form of a cross as an external symbol of their commitment to this journey in their faith.

Queen of the Apostles Parish will have services for Ash Wednesday at the church, 715 Hawthorne St. The service times are 8 a.m., noon and 7 p.m., Mass with the distribution of ashes, and 5 p.m., liturgy of the word with the distribution of ashes.

Throughout the day, the parish’s women’s guild will hold an Ash Wednesday soup and tuna hoagie sale in the parish hall, 742 Spring St.

The cost for a quart of vegetable or potato soup is $5. A tuna hoagie with or without onions is $5.

Orders can be picked up in the parish hall at 11 a.m., after the noon Mass (approximately 12:45 p.m.) and after the 5 p.m. service (approximately 5:30 p.m.) on Ash Wednesday.

To place an order, please call Peggy at 570-457-8887, Jane at 570-335-8678 or the parish office at 570-457-3412 by Monday, March 4.

In other parish news, parishioners will pray the Stations of the Cross at 7 p.m. Fridays during Lent in the church. Prior to the Stations, the Our Lady of Sorrows prayer group will recite the Our Lady of Sorrows rosary at 6:30 p.m.

As part of the Diocese of Scranton’s The Light is on for You Lenten reconciliation program, the parish will offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation from 6 to 7 p.m. Mondays during Lent. The sacrament will still be available from 3:15 to 3:45 p.m. on Saturdays.

The parish will have its annual spring chicken dinner from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 24, in the parish hall, 742 Spring St.

The dinner includes half a chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, a vegetable, homemade coleslaw, rolls, homemade dessert and beverages. Takeouts will be available from 11 a.m. to noon.

In addition to the dinner, there also will be cash and theme basket raffles.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for children 12 and younger. To purchase advance tickets, please call the parish office at 570-457-3412. Tickets also will be available at the door.

The parish announces the following meetings in the rectory: social concerns/respect life committee, 10:30 a.m. Thursday, March 7; word committee, 5 p.m. Monday, March 11; pastoral council, 7 p.m. Monday, March 11; women’s guild, 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 12; worship committee, 6 p.m. Monday, March 18; building and grounds committee, 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 25, and finance council, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 26.

VFW Auxiliary meeting

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8335 Auxiliary will meet at 7 p.m. Monday, March 4, at the post home, 915 Main St. President June Fitzgerald will preside. Fitzgerald and Betty Lewis will host the meeting. The election of officers will take place at 7 p.m. Monday, April 1.

Food pantry

Avoca Food Pantry will be open at 4 p.m. Thursdays, March 7 and 21, at Bethel United Methodist Church, 532 Main St. Food can be picked up in the rear entry of the building. Volunteers are needed to unload and distribute food at 1:30 p.m.

Bunny Bar Hop

The Avoca Community Committee will sponsor its inaugural Avoca Bunny Bar Hop on Saturday, April 6. The participating bars include Litzy’s Lounge, Ernie G.’s, Avoca Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8335, Boozer’s Sports Bar, McAlpine Bar and Grill and the West Side Social Club.

Registration is $25 and includes transportation from bar to bar during the event, T-shirt, travel cup, drink specials at each bar, giveaways and entertainment. The committee also has event T-shirts for sale for $10.

To register and submit payment, please send a message via Facebook to Avoca CC, Holly Ann Homschek, Kelly O’Brien or Colleen Regan Velehoski by Saturday, March 23. There also will be registration nights, event start time and further details available soon.

Tax reminder

Avoca Borough Tax Collector Therese Wrubel announces the Luzerne County/Avoca Borough tax bills have been mailed and refuse fees are past due.

Residents can pay each of these bills from 5 to 6 p.m. Mondays and 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays in the Avoca Municipal Building, 950 Main St.

Residents can also pay via mail by sending separate checks to Therese Wrubel, 129 Factory St., Avoca, PA 18641.

If you need a receipt for your tax payment, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope and the complete bill. Also, write your phone number on the bill in case Wrubel needs to reach you.

If you did not receive your tax bill, please call 570-457-4891. Invoices are sent directly to taxpayers by the county.

The refuse fee schedule to have up to three bags collected weekly is as follows: $165 if purchased by March 20; $175 if purchased between March 21 and April 20; $185 if purchased between April 21 and May 20, and $195 if purchased between May 21 and June 21. After June 21, all unpaid bills will be turned over to the magistrate.

Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous meets at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays in the basement of the Queen of the Apostles rectory, 715 Hawthorne St. Use the sunroom entrance.

Happy birthday

Happy birthday to Carole Boone, who will celebrate her special day Thursday, March 7.

Happy birthday to Jim Brogan, who will celebrate his special day Friday, March 8.

That’s about it for this week, my friends. If you would like to send a birthday, anniversary or get well wish or have your organization’s upcoming meetings, events or fundraisers listed in next week’s edition of the Avoca community news, please contact me by Monday at 5 p.m.

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Jackie Borthwick-Galvin writes about Avoca every week for Greater Pittston Progress. To list a news item, email her at jborthwickgalvin@pittstonprogress.com or call 570-301-2171 by 5 p.m. Monday.