Are You Ready For Lent?
Yes, we just finished Christmas. You are probably still finding needles from your Christmas tree and random ornaments that you forgot to take down around the house. The altar at church may still be surrounded by poinsettias … but Lent is coming. Are you ready?
For many Catholics who may not attend Mass regularly, there may be a variety of reasons, that draw them to Church to "receive ashes." Is there something this Lent at our parish that we can invite them to? Perhaps nothing too intense, but something to get them connected to the community? An invitation to a Lenten Luncheon. Ask them to join you at adoration on a Wednesday or Friday. If not, even just saying hello to people you haven't seen in a while and welcoming them as they arrive can mean a great deal. And if they are nostalgic enough to come get ashes, perhaps they might be interested in Stations of the Cross, daily Mass … invite them, personally.
The other thing that can be helpful is to have some resources available that they, and regular parishioners, can take home. Our Word Among Us will be available soon for families to take home for daily reflection.
Some suggested resources:
From Augustine Institute: Salvation: What Every Catholic Should Know
This is a good book for the average Catholic who wants to know more about the faith. At the time of this writing, I have not yet seen a copy, but it available for pre-order (and is affordable in bulk!). The author is Michael Barber who has written other books that I have appreciated, such as his books on St. Paul and on the Psalms.
The Ascension Press Lenten Companion: This is a daily meditation booklet for Lent. Each day had a scripture verse and meditation and then offers a scripture passage (you will need your own bible) followed by a prayer/meditation/journaling prompt. What is nice about this particular meditation booklet is that it also comes with 5 supplemental video reflections that are available online.
Dynamic Catholic offers this year's version of Best Lent Ever Journal. It is a simple journal, focussing each day on a particular topic, then suggesting a daily video (available online at BestLentEver.com) and prompts to help you journal your own reflections. The Journal this year is based on the book Rediscover the Saints and each day also includes recommended reading from that book as well as scripture passages, but the journal also works well without that additional reading.
Ave Maria Press has a great selection of Lenten material. Two suggestions would be:
The Living Gospel: Daily Devotions for Lent by Dcn. Greg Kandra: Daily reflections on the Gospel of the day by a great writer.
Lent: One Day at a time for Catholic Teens by Katie Prejean McGrady and Tommy McGrady
Daily meditations, prayers and challenges for teens by experienced Youth Ministers that truly meets teenagers where they are at. Katie Prejean is also the author of Follow: Your Lifelong Adventure with Jesus which one the 2019 Assoc. of Catholic Publisher Awards in Teen Books. She also hosted the 2019 NCYC.
Of Course, Bishop Barron and Word on Fire offers Lenten Gospel Reflections . Each day has the full Gospel reading and a short reflection by Bishop Barron and journaling pages. The book also includes a Stations of the Cross. You can get one for free (just pay for shipping and handling.)
Little Black Book for Lent - published by the Diocese of Saginaw are wonderful little prayer books . Each day walks you through the Sunday Gospels, and also has quotes, information and thoughts. The idea is that the booklet has no title on the cover, so you can read it anywhere without feeling self-conscious that you are reading a "religious" book. Each daily prayer can take as little as 6 minutes … and everyone can find six minutes in their day.
Next week, we will review some online resources and apps.