Lent in a Time of Pandemic: Déjà Vu

Photo of Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan next to a picture of his book "I Am With You"

As we enter the month of February, 2021, with the realization that Ash Wednesday and Lent are just a few weeks away, we will no doubt begin experiencing a sense of déjà vu—that sense that we have lived through the present situation before. And while we have all lived through Ash Wednesday and Lent before, this will be the second year that our Lenten experience takes place within the context of a worldwide pandemic (although, thankfully, the end is in sight with the arrival of vaccinations).

Thankfully, we have learned a lot since last year when we first began living under the new normal of social distancing, etc. We will be able to draw on the wisdom and knowledge that we have gained from having “been here before.” Some of that wisdom and knowledge has been gathered in a new book called I Am with You: Lessons of Hope and Courage in Times of Crisis by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, who offers a powerful, universal message on God’s grace and the healing power of Jesus to get us through turbulent times. Drawn from sermons and writings offered during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, I Am with You—for which I was asked to write the Discussion Guide—provides solace and hope for anyone suffering through illness, grief, job loss, isolation, or anxiety.

The Living Lent Daily e-mail series for 2021 will take its inspiration from I Am with You, providing daily reflections to encourage us during these tough and turbulent times. In addition to Cardinal Dolan, featured authors will include Pope Francis, Vinita Hampton Wright, and Becky Eldredge, whose messages will be accompanied by suggestions for further exploration of Lenten themes through additional online articles and prayers.

Yes, we have been here before, but we have learned much, not the least of which is the assurance that the Lord gives us: “I am with you!”


Order your copy of I Am with You at a special price of 30% off by using code 5324 at store.loyolapress.com. Shipping and handling are additional. Cannot be combined with other offers. U.S. domestic orders only. Offer expires 4/4/2021.

About Joe Paprocki 2523 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

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