Friars and their partners-in-ministry around the country are offering an abundance of opportunities to their congregations, supporters, and friends during the 2021 Lenten season that goes beyond the traditional practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. During the six weeks of Lent, a lineup of diverse and compelling reflections, videos and services will be offered online by Holy Name Province friars, ministries, and a network of Franciscans to help reach people far and wide as they deepen their spiritual lives and prepare for Easter.
A schedule of seasonal programs – both traditional and novel – can be found on a website created by the Holy Name Province Development Office that is appropriately called “Lent with the Friars.” Information and links to a weekly schedule of events, which include the following, can be found on the site:
- On Sundays, David Convertino, OFM, executive director of the HNP Development Office and a Provincial Councilor, provides reflections in a video series called “The Pillars of Lent.”
- On Mondays and Tuesdays, prayers are offered from the popular booklet “Lent in My Pocket.”
- Every Wednesday at 10 a.m., Mass at St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City is live-streamed.
- Alternating broadcasts of the popular culinary series “Friar Chef,” with Michael Carnevale, OFM, and the new series “Friar Art,” with Michael Reyes, OFM, take place every Thursday.
- On Fridays, Stations of the Cross are led by Michael Carnevale
- Saturdays are designated for participants to receive information about The Franciscan Store – including details about its mission and products.
“These daily features are sent directly to your inbox and help provide simple reflective prayers for each day of Lent,” said David. “They are followed by an action-thought that brings someone or some ministry to our minds, hearts, and prayers.”
Those with interest in receiving reflections each day during Lent leading up to Easter Sunday can sign up for the “I’m Home for Lent” calendar through FriarWorks Lent.
It’s the Province’s hope that people will join in these meditations and move together to a holy and joyful Lent, according to a recent email from David that notified friends of the friars about HNP’s Lenten series.
Two days before Ash Wednesday, David hosted a Lent Quiz – a video posted on YouTube that includes six multiple-choice questions about the season. As of Thursday, more than 3,000 people had watched the quiz and roughly 5,000 had viewed the Ash Wednesday Mass.
At Ministry Sites
Around the Province, friars from New England to Florida are offering their wisdom and guidance through this Lenten season.
In New York City, St. Francis of Assisi Parish on West 31st Street provides several seasonal opportunities that include Lenten Vespers, Encounter the Lenten Sunday Gospels, and Taizé Fridays – the latter a beautiful experience of the chants of Taizé prayer and meditation.
In Boston, several friars at St. Anthony Shrine are offering their wisdom and companionship through the Shrine’s website and social media. For example, Emeric Meier, OFM, is presenting a reflection series online, called “The Laity: The Call to Holiness and the Call to Ministry,” every Monday beginning Feb. 22. Paul Keenan, OFM, who was assigned to the Shrine last fall, plans to host a weekly “Chat with a Friar” series through the Lenten season as a way to get acquainted with community members since in-person interaction has been restricted during the pandemic.
In Hartford, Connecticut, the friars and staff of St. Patrick-St. Anthony Parish are encouraging parishioners to participate in a vast array of programs. A promotional email from the Downtown Hartford parish said, “If you are feeling a particular need for peace and need more connection with others, we encourage you to give a new program a try. Even if you don’t feel comfortable sharing in a breakout room, your thoughtful and prayerful presence is most welcome!” Some of the programs require registration and book purchase. More information about the Lenten calendar of events at St. Patrick-St. Anthony is available online.
In Tampa, Florida, Sacred Heart Parish recently provided parishioners with a video in which Ron Gliatta, OFM, describes the traditions associated with Ash Wednesday. He also alerted viewers to what they might expect this year for the distribution of ashes during a pandemic.
Throughout the Lenten season, the staff at Sacred Heart also plans to share articles from Catholic Update intended to help readers develop a deeper understanding of Lent, prepare for the journey of Holy Week, and discover the meaning behind what we do as Catholics.
“We hope you use this resource each week as you focus on the three customs of Lent: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving,” the email said.
Additional information about Lenten resources offered by parishes and ministries throughout the Province can be found by visiting the Our Work section of the HNP website.
Collaborative Franciscan Project
Seven Franciscan entities have collaborated to produce an online booklet of reflections about the Stations of the Cross. These and other resources – which include scripture readings and reflections by friars, staff members, and volunteers – can be accessed on the Franciscan Service Network, to which these organizations belong.
Katie Sullivan, executive director of the HNP Franciscan Volunteer Ministry, one of the participants, assembled a PDF of the contents which is available in two formats: a standard 8.5” x 11” booklet and one suited for viewing on a mobile device.
The expressions of the Stations of the Cross used in this booklet were introduced by Saint Pope John Paul II on Good Friday in 1991, according to Sullivan.
“They are presented with reflections written by members of the Franciscan family. Our writers and visual artists are connected with one of seven Franciscan volunteer programs that make up the Franciscan Service Network — Cap Corps, Change A Heart Franciscan Volunteer Program, Felician Sisters Volunteers in Mission, Franciscan Mission Service, Franciscan Volunteer Ministry, Francis Corps, and Mount Irenaeus Mountain Companions,” said Sullivan.
Each program plans to share the booklet, titled “A Lenten Journey: Reflections on the Scriptural Stations of the Cross,” through social media accounts as well as on websites and will make them available to download.
“We are happy to have created this resource together and are hopeful that others will find it a reflective and inspiring resource for prayer,” said Sullivan, who has served as a staff member of FVM since 1998.
— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas
Editor’s note: The HNP Communications Office welcomes friars and partners-in-ministry to notify Jocelyn Thomas at email@example.com of Lenten programs to share throughout the Province.
- “Friars Develop Ways to Bring Prayer, Worship to Homes During COVID-19 Pandemic” – March 26, 2020, HNP Today
- “Journeying Through Lent with Daily e-Reflections” – March 4, 2020, HNP Today
- “Spiritual Recipe for Lenten Journey” — March 22, 2018, HNP Today
- “What Are You Giving up for Lent?” — March 14, 2017, HNP Today