Contemplation at Core of Lenten Activities around Province

Johann Cuervo Around the Province

The Giving Tree at Sacred Heart Church in downtown Tampa, Fla. (Photo courtesy of Sacred Heart Church)

Pope Francis has said, “Lent comes…to reawaken us, to shake us from our lethargy.” Ministries throughout the Province began their Lenten journey with the traditional Stations of the Cross, confession, and communal penance services. Several parishes will take an innovative new expression with a series of talks focusing on forgiveness, generosity, and climate change.

During the season of Lent, the parish of St. Mary’s in Pompton Lakes, N.J., is participating in 40acts, a generosity challenge that encourages participants to do at least one act of kindness each day of Lent.

The parish is also presenting a four-week program kicking off March 21 at 7 p.m. called ‘Before the Flood’, sponsored by Franciscan Response to Fracking and Advocates for Justice, two social justice ministries whose message is to care for planet Earth. Inspiration for the series came from Pope Francis’ encyclical ‘Laudato Si,’ according to The Beacon, the newspaper of the Paterson, N.J., Diocese.

In Tampa, Fla., Sacred Heart Parish is presenting a four-week series centered on “Forgiven,” a video presentation on the transforming power of Confession. The programs will take place every Tuesday starting next week at 7 p.m. in the San Damiano Center.

St. Peter Claver in Macon, Ga., invites parishioners to its interfaith Lenten lecture series, ‘An Overview of World Religions’. Each week, the parish is exploring a different world religion and its view of penance. Each talk begins at 5:30 p.m., with a dinner in the social hall, followed by a lecture at 6:30 p.m. in the church.

In Durham, N.C., Immaculate Conception Church invites parishioners to join student friars Casey Cole, OFM, and Javier del Angel de los Santos, OFM, at a parish mission from March 20 to 23. Casey announced the event via Facebook. They will present the Paschal Mystery through the eyes of “divinization,” the transforming effect Christ’s work has on us to make us more like God. There will be a presentation in English and Spanish, each of the three nights, from 7 to 8:15 p.m. The series will conclude with a potluck dinner.

(Photo courtesy of Casey Cole)

Also in North Carolina, Stephen Kluge, OFM, will be leading a discussion about “The Man Born Blind” on March 22 at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Raleigh, as part of a Lenten series.

On April 4, Matthew Pravetz, OFM, will lead a reflection titled “Do you want to be well?” based on the Gospel of John at Holy Name of Jesus Parish in New York City. A reconciliation service will follow. The community of  Holy Name of Jesus and St. Gregory the Great is holding a Lenten Vespers Series every Tuesday evening. The theme of the series is “Listen! What is Jesus Asking You?” Evening prayer begin at 6:30 p.m. and reflections at 7:30 p.m.

As part of its adult formation program, St. Patrick-St. Anthony Parish in Hartford, Conn., is offering a Lenten evening of reflection and meditation led by Kenneth Paulli, OFM, of Siena College, on April 6 at 5:30 p.m.

Several seasonal messages from David Convertino, OFM, the Province’s executive director of development, were distributed over the last few weeks including the new version of “Lent in My Pocket,” the free pocket-sized booklet with reflections on Gospel readings for 2017.

This is just one of several resources offered by HNP ministries to help create a meaningful experience this season. The Province’s Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity for Creation made available several years ago a Lenten Toolkit with suggested actions designed to help reflect on the biblical call to welcome the stranger and act to make immigrant justice a reality. This and other seasonal resources can be found on the Justice and Peace webpage.

More information about the rich and varied programs offered by ministries around the Province can be found online, accessible through the Our Work webpage of the HNP website.

Johann Cuervo is communications assistant at the Provincial Office.

Related Links