Fourth Sunday of Lent, Year A: Coming Out of the Darkness and Into the Light

March 24, 2017 Joe Paprocki 0

As in last week’s Gospel about Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman, this Sunday’s Gospel reading (John 9:1–41) has many allusions to Baptism. The washing of the man in the pool of Siloam is a prototype for Christian Baptism. Through the man’s encounter with Jesus, the man born blind is healed, his sight is restored, and his conversion to discipleship begins. The man born blind gradually comes to a greater understanding about who Jesus is […]

Why Do We Observe Lent?

March 21, 2017 Lisa Jones 1

Lent is one of my favorite times of the year. It forces me to slow down and focus more intently on Jesus for 40 days. But when teaching fourth graders, slowing down is not the optimal way to communicate the importance of Lent. While I was talking to my class about Lent, I was surprised by the number of students who confused Lent and Advent. Too many didn’t understand much of Lent beyond giving up […]

Third Sunday of Lent, Year A: Mercy Without Limits

March 17, 2017 Joe Paprocki 0

In this Sunday’s Gospel (John 4:5–42), the dialogue between Jesus and a woman from Samaria is among the most lengthy and most theological found in Scripture. The most startling aspect of the conversation is that it happens at all. Jesus, an observant Jew of that time, was expected to avoid conversation with women in public. The animosity between the Jews and the Samaritans should have prevented the conversation as well. The woman herself alludes to […]

Lent with the Saints, Part 3: Giving Alms with St. Katharine Drexel

March 16, 2017 Bob Burnham 1

This is the last of three articles on the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Whenever I talk about the three pillars of Lent—prayer, fasting, and almsgiving—the conversation I have with young people about alms usually goes something like this: “What are alms?” one youth will ask. “Are those the things we get on the Sunday before Easter?” “No,” I’ll correct gently, “those are palms.” “I know,” another will say, “it’s a book in […]

Lent as a Catechetical Leader

March 15, 2017 Paul Gallagher 0

Our annual Lenten journey has begun. I don’t know about you, but it seems like I always start this penitential season really well, but then quickly fall into the same old busy-ness of parish life. In fact, for most catechetical leaders, Lent is our busiest time of the year. How do we counter that? First and foremost, we have to make a commitment to prayerfully focus on what the season means. It’s a time to […]

Second Sunday of Lent, Year A: The Promise of Glory

March 10, 2017 Joe Paprocki 0

When you get down to it, each of us is walking around with a vision of a hoped-for reality—an alternate reality—for ourselves, for those we love, for our community, for our world. We imagine a world that exists somewhere beyond what our eyes can presently see. We have a choice: we can either approach life as a problem to be solved, a contest to be won, or as a mystery to be entered into more […]

Lent with the Saints, Part 2: Fasting with St. Vincent Ferrer

March 9, 2017 Bob Burnham 0

This is the second of three articles on the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Lent is a season in which we respond to the Lord’s call to “return to me with all your heart, / with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” (Joel 2:12) As I remind young people of the requirements for Lent, I usually share this passage with them to remind them that this obligation is nothing more than responding to […]

Journeying with the Scriptures in Lent

March 8, 2017 Special Contributor 1

Many years ago I was inspired to create an interactive Lenten bulletin board based on the popular children’s board game, Candy Land. Using colored construction paper squares, I fashioned a winding path to represent the 40 days’ journey from Ash Wednesday to Good Friday. Instead of Lollipop Mountain and King Candy’s Castle, I created stops along the way that reflected the Gospel readings for the six Sundays of Lent and ended at Calvary. Visual clues […]

First Sunday of Lent, Year A: Confident in God’s Protection and Faithfulness

March 3, 2017 Joe Paprocki 0

What’s your security blanket? For young children, security blankets and other such comfort objects are healthy things. They are “transitional objects” to ease the trauma of separating from their mothers. However, we all must eventually cut the apron strings and leave our security blankets behind. Unfortunately, we tend to replace our plush toys with more sophisticated security blankets, not to ease the anxiety of our separation from our mothers, but to ease what we sense as […]

Lent with the Saints, Part 1: Praying with St. Patrick

March 2, 2017 Bob Burnham 0

In the first of three articles on the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, we learn from St. Patrick how to make Lent a special season of prayer. In the weeks leading up to Lent, I am reminded to tell the young people in my class about Lent. I have to tell them when Ash Wednesday services at my parish are. I am required to inform them of the Lenten regulations. I need to […]

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