It’s hard to believe Lent begins this week. Since we’ve had to sacrifice so much already because of the pandemic, I wonder if we can skip “giving up” something for Lent this year? Just kidding. I’ve spent enough time around nuns to know that deal is a no go!

But on a serious note, Lent does begin this week and it offers us a chance to look deep within ourselves and discover ways we can put aside the poorer parts of our nature and become better people.

To mark the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17, Queen of the Apostles Parish will have Mass with the distribution of ashes at 8 a.m., noon and 7 p.m., and a liturgy of the word with the distribution of ashes at 5 p.m. at the church, 715 Hawthorne St.

Please note, each guest will receive ashes on his or her forehead with a Q-tip to maintain sanitation and stop the spread of COVID-19.

In other parish news, Queen of the Apostles Parish is offering the Alpha program, “Who is Jesus?” via Zoom at 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays. The program, which is free and open to anyone, is an adult faith enrichment series for churchgoers and non-churchgoers alike. The videos are thought-provoking and lead to meaningful group discussions. For information, contact the office at 570-457-3412 or staff@queenoftheapostles.com.

The First Communion class will receive First Penance at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, at the church, 715 Hawthorne St.

The parish’s social concerns/respect life ministry is sponsoring its annual Easter basket food program. Any parishioner who needs a basket of food for their Easter meal should contact the parish office by Sunday, March 21.

Queen of the Apostles Parish has a virtual spirit gear store in conjunction with Mad Tees, Dupont. The store is located at stores.inksoft.com/queen_of_the_apostles/shop/home, and it has several different items for sale such as cotton knit face masks, winter scarves and hats, baseball caps, long and short sleeve T-shirts, V-neck and cardigan sweaters, quarter zip, crew neck and hoodie sweatshirts, fleece sweatpants, sport shirts and flannel lounge pants. When your order is complete, a Mad Tees representative will contact you. Orders can be picked up on the back porch of Mad Tees, 340 Main St., Dupont, following social distancing guidelines. A portion of all sales will benefit the parish. Please note, orders take two weeks to complete.

Bethel Church reopens

Bethel United Methodist Church, 532 Main St., has resumed its weekly 11:15 a.m. Sunday service.

Refuse fee

Residents may pay their 2021 refuse fees from 5 to 6 p.m. Mondays and 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays at the Avoca Municipal Building, 950 Main St.

The fee to have up to three bags collected weekly is as follows: $165 if purchased by Feb. 20; $170 if purchased between Feb. 21 and March 20; $180 if purchased between March 21 and April 20; $190 if purchased between April 21 and May 20, and $200 if purchased between May 21 and June 21. If anyone has more than three bags of garbage per week, please call Therese Wrubel at 570-457-4891 for extra bag stickers.

Residents also can pay the fee via mail by sending a check made payable to Avoca Borough, c/o Therese Wrubel, 129 Factory St., Avoca, PA 18641.

Food pantry

Avoca Food Pantry will be open at 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, at Bethel United Methodist Church, 532 Main St. The food, provided by the CEO Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank, can be picked up in the rear entry of the building. If you can volunteer to unload and distribute food, please arrive at the church at 1:30 p.m. For information, please call Jim at 570-921-9899.

Knights of Columbus

Cardinal John J. O’Connor Knights of Columbus Council 12967, Avoca, is accepting new members. Membership is open to Catholic men 18 or older. For information, please call Queen of the Apostles Parish at 570-457-3412.

That’s about it for this week, my friends.

Thanks for reading, and have a great week!

Jackie Borthwick-Galvin writes about Avoca every week. To list an item, email jborthwickgalvin@pittstonprogress.com or call 570-301-2171 by 5 p.m. Monday.

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