Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

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.


Advent for overwrought, overworked, over-pressured believers

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

It has long struck me that the season of Advent doesn’t always get our full attention. But that’s no anyone’s fault. Here in the Mid-Atlantic States, the leaves are just falling and the weather is still fairly balmy. Even though the clocks have gone back, we haven’t yet reached the days when it’s pitch dark at 5:00 p.m. So it’s hard to get into the Advent mood and ponder phrases like “In the bleak midwinter” and “Silent Night.” (In Manhattan, where I live, there’s no such thing as a silent night any time of year.)

Then there is the fact that we Americans have to jump the hurdle that is the national Thanksgiving Day, followed by Black Friday and the  shopping season. For catechists and parish directors or coordinators of religious education, Advent also means preparing not only their own families, but yours and mine as well, for Christmas. And then there’s the Christmas pageant with all the drama onstage and back stage.

I for one will never be co that Catholics and other Christians don’t want to prepare spiritually for the celebration of the Nativity of Our Savior. It’s just that life is always hectic and time slips away.

So here is my contribution toward making Advent a little easier to keep for over-worked, over-wrought, over-pressured believers. These resources are all online.  Some are multi-lingual, others multi-generational. Try them and let me know what you think of them.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Here is an online Advent calendar plus prayer and information about the season, the meaning of its name, and more.

Creighton University Online Ministries. Among the many resources are online retreats in several languages.

ETWN’s Holy Season of Advent. Another informative Advent Calendar

Loyola Press’ Interactive Advent Retreats. Actually, this site is great all year around. Family Advent. Here you will find family resources plus a rather intriguing feature titled “Got a Faith Question? Ask St. Peter.” I didn’t know he had an e-mail account.  See? You learn something new every day.

Sacred Space. Daily prayer in 21 languages.  Another year ’round treasure.

Have you some favorite online resources for the season? Do send them to me.

Blessed Advent!

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.