Posts Tagged ‘Lent’

The remaining days of Lent … and a king’s requiem

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Very shortly we will be moving into the end of Lent. To help you make the most of these final days of the season, to observe the most solemn days on our calendar, and to celebrate the joy of Easter, I offer you this wonderful resource from the Irish Jesuits and Loyola Press.  It is called Sacred Space and it is much more than a website. It is a virtual community of which you can be a member and it is available in a variety of languages.

Ignatian Spirituality can sometimes appear to be a bit complicated, but it really isn’t if you have the right guide. Sacred Space has been offering this online service for 16 years. I discovered it about 10 years ago and have treasured it ever since. I hope you will, too.

On another note…

King Richard III of England, whose remains were located  under a parking lot in the city of Leicester in 2012, 527 years after his defeat by Henry Tudor and death at Bosworth Field, is being buried Thursday, March 26, in Leicester Cathedral. He will be buried in the rite of the Church of England, which is causing a bit of a stir. You might be interested in the way the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, addressed this. Richard, of course, lived before the English Reformation, which was set in motion by Henry Tudor’s son, King Henry VIII. The British Jesuits have the story on their website, Thinking Faith.

Cardinal Nichols also addressed the sticky business of whether or not Richard really was that terrible villain portrayed by Shakespeare in Richard III or was the victim of a deliberate attempt to blacken his name and therefore legitimize what some believe was the dubious claim of Henry Tudor to the throne.  Does it matter now?

I have always considered Richard’s fate in history to be a cautionary tale about believing what we today call “spin.” It also reminds me that, as George Orwell pointed out, history is written by the winners.

Lent 2012: online or at the church around the corner

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Far be it from me to be giving anyone advice on how to observe the Season of Lent. However, I have come across some very creative websites that might appeal to those who are giving something up, but who are also looking for positive practices.

From our friends at the Environmental Outreach Committee of the Department of Peace and Justice, Archdiocese of Washington: The 2012 Caring for Creation Calendar.

From the Jesuits at Loyola Press– and they do have a gift for responding creatively and profoundly to the yearnings of young adults: “40 Lent: What do you give up when the world gives out?” It’s a social media series focusing on the way a group of adults copes with the aftermath of a disaster.

From the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops: a wealth of resources and answers to questions about the significance of Lent, the practices, the Rite of Christian Initiation and even an informative section of the Saints of Lent.

American  also offers  a variety of creative Lenten practices you might want to look at.

Our own Archdiocesan Catechetical Office website – – has a number of Lenten connections for you to make.

Now these are online resources but there comes a time when one might want to think about powering off the p.c., the smartphone, the tablet or whatever your device of choice may be and, instead, make a physical connection to a church. So many churches here in New York City have wonderful programs to offer.

One of my favorites is the Franciscan Church of St. Francis of Assisi. Check out the Lenten offerings for people of all ages at the parish, which is located just across from Penn Station in Manhattan. In truth, this parish does wonderful outreach all year but its Lenten programs are particularly fine.

There are lots of other parishes making a special effort this Lent. You may find one right near you. This church might not have a fancy website, so just stop in and chances are you’ll see some signs or weekly bulletins. Pick one up. You may be pleasantly surprised to discover that your most meaningful Lent ever is right in your own neighborhood.

If you know of any parish or online Lenten programs you want to share, just  let me know by commenting below.

A blessed Lent to you.


Let’s hear it for San Giuseppe

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Correct me if I am wrong but I am not aware that anyone has ever asked the Archbishop of New York to lift the Lenten abstinence rule when the feast of St. Joseph (March 19) falls on a Friday, as it does this year. Yet, whenever St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Lenten Friday, there’s big outcry for an exception to the meatless Friday regulation.

As they used to say in my old neighborhood, “that’s no fair.”

Now you might have thought that with my Irish name and semi-Irish heritage, I would be blogging about Patrick’s Feast today.  Well, I’ve looked around and it appears that everyone, up to and including the Pope, has that pretty well covered.

So….let’s turn to the big story on St. Joseph – from his place in Scripture to some nice ways to observe his feast, besides attending Mass: what to cook and what to bake, a song or two and, of course, the connection between him and the return of the swallows to Capistrano on March 19. I’ve discovered that it’s customary to eat fish on Joseph’s feast, wherever  day it falls on the calendar.

And by the way, St. Joseph actually is a more important saint than Patrick. I heard this myself in my parish church on Sunday. It’s that great big one on Fifth Avenue and 50th Street.

So Happy St. Joseph’s Day to you and prayerful thanks to this strong, quiet man for being a role model for husbands and fathers.

Lent at the last minute

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Here we are with Lent upon us. Have you decided how you and your loved ones will keep this holy season?  No? To be honest, I haven’t either and I suspect we are not alone.

Perhaps the February snows have literally bogged us down. It’s snowing again here in Manhattan.  Or maybe the President’s Day weekend and Valentine’s Day got in the way. Or maybe, just maybe, life is so much more hectic than it was just a few years ago.

However, longing for simpler days won’t bring them back…and perhaps they were not so simple anyway. But that doesn’t mean we can’t de-clutter a small portion of each day,  setting aside a few minutes for prayer and meditation on the greatest-ever act of love: our redemption by Jesus Christ.

Beginning on Ash Wednesday, my wonderful colleague and Archdiocesan Catechetical Office webmaster, Jim Connell, provides “Lent 2000: Journeying in Faith” for you. Visit each day of Lent and join with your archdiocesan, regional and parish catechetical leaders and catechists.

Here are more Lenten web resources for daily prayer, reflections on the Sunday readings, and a special Lenten Day of Prayer and Reflection for catechetical leaders, catechists, and all adults who would like to join us at Maryknoll Seminary in Ossining, N.Y., on March 3.

Sacred Space – The Irish Jesuits and available in several languages

Keeping Lent with St. Luke – “Thinking Faith” at the British Jesuits

Thoughts for Lent from St. Augustine – from the Augustinians of the Midwest

Lenten Day of Prayer – Archdiocesan Catechetical Office – March 3

I will add more  resources as I find them and invite you to submit some of your favorite Lenten spirituality sites  (of course, I will have to review them and decide whether or not to publish them here).

A Blessed Lent.