I hope you had a great weekend. It might seem early to be talking about Lent, but it’s now only a little over two weeks away with Ash Wednesday being February 10th. I will post these opportunities again as it gets closer, but it might be helpful to share some of the ways that we can grow as a parish during this Lenten season together so we can begin thinking already how we want to spend these forty days and make some resolutions.
Here are some opportunities in our parish and beyond and some suggested resolutions in our parish life:
- We have our usual Lenten prayer opportunities with stations of the cross on Fridays at 2:00 and 7:00. Perhaps you can commit to attending the stations each week. We have our usual daily Masses as well. Perhaps you can try to attend at least one daily Mass during the week or even attend Mass every day. As a reminder, we will add a Monday Mass at 7:00 PM.
- There will be an adoration night for the parish, similar to what we had during Advent, on Thursday, February 11th at 7:00 PM. Start Lent off right with Ash Wednesday on February 10th and adoration on Thursday.
- On Tuesday, March 8th at 7:00 PM, we will welcome Dr. John Jackson, the lead researcher on the Shroud of Turin team and one of the few scientists who has been able to study the potential burial cloth of Jesus extensively. He has given presentations around the world and has been featured on CNN, the History Channel, and many other media outlets. On Tuesday, he will focus on the science of the Shroud and on Wednesday, March 9th at 7:00 PM, his focus will be more on what the shroud has to say to us in our spiritual and prayer lives. Perhaps you can make plans and prioritize these presentations in your schedule. The shroud has much to tell us about our faith, the Lord, his suffering, and it is especially helpful to focus on the wounds of Jesus during our Lenten season and this year of mercy.
- Have you been thinking about spending more time in prayer or spending some time in the chapel? Lent is a good opportunity to make that commitment. If nothing else, perhaps you could start by committing to ten or fifteen minutes at a certain time on a certain day of the week to pray before the Eucharist in adoration.
- Have you been reading the Rediscover Jesus book that we gave on Christmas? It’s great if you have already read it, but it was also partially designed to be a Lenten meditation and is divided into small, short, easy-to-read chapters. You could commit to reading one chapter per day.
- Speaking of Rediscover Jesus and Matthew Kelly, here is a link to “The Best Lent Ever” 2016. You can sign up easily there for daily, short video reflections from Matthew Kelly and various tips and suggestions to have a great Lent in 2016.
- Want to go even deeper in your spiritual life? DeSales University is offering a free “MOOC” (Massive Open Online Course) on Saint Francis de Sales, intended to follow the Lenten schedule and intended for anyone in the Church. I have registered myself, and it will be a great opportunity to learn more about this doctor of the Church, his writings, and someone who had a very practical, common-sense, pragmatic approach to the spiritual life that appealed to many in the Church. You can see more information here. It’s a free course and great way to grow in your spiritual life.
- We hope to offer other opportunities soon, but I thought I would share what we currently have arranged for Lent as a parish. In this Year of Mercy, it would be great to focus our prayer, fasting, and almsgiving especially in a way that helps the poor and lives out those corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
I hope your week started well. Let’s continue to pray for each other.