Ash Wednesday, a day of prayer and fasting, marks the beginning of Lent. I often marvel at how many people are drawn to services on Ash Wednesday. After all, it's not a holy day of obligation and it falls smack in the middle of the week. I once discussed this with a pastor who noted how everyone who showed up left with something, no matter their status in or outside the Church. Leaving with a smudge of black on the forehead holds deep resonance for many, many people.Continue Reading
“Forgive and forget.” Anyone who has labored with a massive load of hurt and injury understand how difficult this advice is. How does one forget sustained abuse, genocide, or the denial of one’s very humanity? Survivors of the Nazi holocaust counsel against forgetting, lest we humans engage in something equally as horrific.
Welcome to our guest blogger, Carole Eipers, National Catechetical Advisor for Sadlier. Carole will be speaking at the NCEA Convention and Expo in San Diego. If you are attending the convention stop by the Sadlier exhibit to meet Carole.Continue Reading
As a child I learned to “give something up” for Lent. My meager efforts at abstaining from candy or from teasing my little brother pale in comparison to the regimen of a forty-day desert fast. As a spiritual tradition, fasting goes back millennia. Jesus, in embarking on his wilderness experience, was following the practice set by his ancestors. It was a form of purification.
The origins of the Stations of the Cross stretch back to the Crusades when, as a result of the conquering of the Holy Land, Christians began making pilgrimages to the sacred sites where Jesus lived, suffered, died, and rose from the dead. When travel to these places became either impractical or undoable, due to the recapturing of Jerusalem by the Muslims, the practice of walking the Stations of the Cross took hold. Today, churches, monasteries, and retreat centers have various ways of depicting the Stations through paintings, sculpture, or stained glass.
The Stations of the Cross are one of many spiritual practices that we can undertake as a way to make our way through Lent. Use these reflections cards with your family or class!Continue Reading
Julie Penrose Center. Sacred Heart Retreat House. Benet Pines. Franciscan Center. These are four places where I have gone over the years to retreat from routines and regimens and to recharge my soul. All were a short drive from my home so I have been extraordinarily blessed to have access to them. Because of my experiences with retreats – both as a participant and as a director/facilitator – I can never understand why catechists, teachers, pastoral leaders, parents, and others choose to bypass invitations by diocesan offices or parishes to take time for an hour, a day, or a weekend of reflection and prayer. The benefits outweigh any reasons to remain entrenched in busyness.Continue Reading
One of the things I love about the liturgical year is the way we cycle around to the same seasons. Each time I seem to find more insight into the symbols, rituals, and stories that comprise each celebration. Lent is a case in point. The word itself comes from the Middle English word lente, meaning springtime, and shares the same root as the world length. As the light of day lengthens during the spring, we move week by week towards the joyous celebration of the Triduum and Easter.Continue Reading