Pastor James FitzGerald

January 20, 2024

It might be shocking to think about Lent right now—we are still recovering from a busy Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany season, but with Ash Wednesday only a few weeks away, it’s time to start thinking about Lent and our devotion to prepare ourselves for Easter. Many people give up something for Lent and on February 22, 2023, my wife, Hanna, and I attended an Ash Wednesday service at Evangelical Lutheran Church in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, where I completed my internship. Hanna stopped working due to the physical challenges of late-stage pregnancy, and when we stepped into the church, we were asked what we were giving up for Lent. Hanna declared, “I am giving up being pregnant for Lent.” Three days later, Eden was born.

Hanna and I each had to give up something to provide for Eden. We both had to give up sleep to care for Eden. Hanna gave up her body during pregnancy and while nursing. I gave up sleep, and time spent to myself. Raising a child takes a lot of sacrifice, but what we get in return is 1000 times more than what we put in. As we watch Eden say her first words and take her first steps, we see what our sacrifice is creating. A beautiful baby girl and a beautiful family.

In the book of Matthew, Jesus encounters a rich young man asking, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” (Matthew 19:16b) and Jesus tells him to keep the commandments and you will have eternal life. But the man knows he still lacks something and asks, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack? (19:20b). Jesus tells him to sell every he has, give the money to the poor, and come and follow him. During Lent we are reminded that Jesus asks us to give our lives to him. To pour everything we have into our devotion to Christ and follow him. That means giving a lot up—more than just chocolate or ice cream. That means giving up our lives and handing them over to Christ. That is a lot of sacrifice, but what we get in return is more than what we give up. The joy of our salvation is greater than all the sum of all our possessions multiplied.

There will be no shortage of opportunities for devotion this season of Lent. We will be hosting dinner and worship starting at 6:00 p.m. on February 21st followed by our bible study continuing at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesdays. We will be serving a meal at Grassroots Saturday, February 17, and we always need more people to volunteer to help during worship, especially during Lent and Holy Week. You might also consider adding a family worship time at home. I know that sounds difficult, but all you need to worship at home is to read scripture, sing a song, and say a prayer. In our home, we have a Lenten calendar with daily kindness challenges for our family to complete. We also have a prayer chain to encourage us to pray and to dive into scripture as a family. The more we pour into our faith, the more we see the fruits of our faith.

Meet Pastor James FitzGerald and Family

Hello, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church!

My name is James FitzGerald, and I grew up in Mount Airy, Maryland. I earned a Master of Divinity from United Lutheran Seminary, a Master of Arts in Education from Albright College, and Bachelor of Arts in History from Albright College. My working experiences include teaching in public schools, serving as a waiter, spending summers working as a camp counselor, and stocking shelves and packing meat in a grocery store. In addition, I completed my internship at Evangelical Lutheran Church in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, and Trinity Lutheran Church in Rouzerville, Pennsylvania. I served in several other churches as a worship leader during my tenure at seminary. My favorite part of ministry is preaching and teaching, and I am skilled at working with children and youth.

I cherish my family. My wife Hanna, and I welcomed a baby girl, Eden, into our family in February of this year. Eden is a joy in our lives, and she is a precious gift to us from God. Hanna taught middle school English Language Arts for eight years, and her goal is to teach introductory college English courses, write, raise our daughter, and serve alongside me in the ministry. We also have a black Labrador retriever named Minnie.

I enjoy watching critically acclaimed films and blockbuster movies. My favorite book is The Lord of the Rings, and I enjoy reading comic books as well. I also spend each day in devotion reading God’s Word. My favorite sports teams are the Washington Football Team and the Washington Nationals. I also enjoy taking the time to exercise and fish. Hanna and I love to garden and cook together, especially barbecue, and we enjoy traveling, meeting new people, and going on adventures.

I am looking forward to getting to know all of you!

Epiphany/Lenten Season

There is a place for you at St. Paul's during Epiphany / Lenten season. Contact the church office 301-725-0241 to make an appointment for Confession, Baptism, Marriage and counseling.

Pastor Jospeh Lettrich - Support Pastor