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February 01, 2012
Preparing for Lent
Faith Formation Update continues to offer free monthly encouragement and direction for catechetical ministry within the classroom and beyond. I’m Jeanne Hunt. In each issue I offer a brief starter and my “ Every Family” column. My co-worker and fellow religious educator Joan McKamey offers media resources and ideas in her “ Seen and Heard” column. Our co-worker Angela Glassmeyer suggests other faith formation resources for adults in her column, “Sowing Sampler.”

IN THIS EDITION: How many Lents is this for you? As catechists, we cannot afford to let the message of faith get worn out like an old textbook. In this issue, we will offer a new spiced-up version of an old favorite the Church calls “Lent.”

FOR SHARING AND DISCUSSION: Share your ideas and questions on our Faith Formation Forum.
What are some new ideas you have for this upcoming Lent — for yourself? for those with whom you share the faith?
How do you manage to mark Lent in your classroom? in your small group? in your home? 
Doing More
Lent is not a time for doing less; it is a time for doing more. Our job as teachers of the faith is to point out what “doing more” involves. When we take the challenge to apply our beliefs to everyday life, we see that living the Beatitudes or Mathew 25 takes strength and firm resolve.
I would like every individual, family, small group of adults, youth group and classroom to take the four practices of Lent (prayer, fasting, abstinence and service) and turn them into living action. Rather than stop doing something, we should start praying more. We should not only fast from something we love, but also do something difficult that is good for us. We need not just abstain from an activity or food, but also give our time and food to the poor. In our personal lives, in our families and in our parishes, Lent is meant to be a sacred time of evaluation and reformation. Each Lent has a treasure to discover, and we find it by searching for that something “more.”
Online Catalog
A Lenten Treat

It is rare that we think of Lent and treats in the same sentence — unless our custom is to give up treats for Lent. One way we can treat ourselves, our families and our students during these 40 days is by feeding our minds and souls rather than our bodies during the days of fasting and abstinence.

What I have in mind is some good seasonal reading to inspire us. Why not begin each family meal or religion class with a short quotation or reading? You can begin each day of Lent with a word that inspires. To that end, I recommend any of these three Lenten books from Franciscan Media: Rediscover Lent by Matthew Kelly (available as a print book, audiobook and Catholic Update), Lent with the Saints by Father Greg Friedman, OFM, and The Sacred Heart for Lent by Thomas Williams. Make your Lent a time to treat yourself and others to the word that inspires.

SAVE! Get 20% off Rediscover Lent and The Sacred Heart for Lent. Use promo code “LENT2012” to receive the special. Offer ends Feb. 28, 2012, and is not valid with any other discounts or offers.

Online Catalog
Celebrating the Seasons

A childhood memory of mine is arguing with my mother about which celebration is more important — Christmas or Easter. I argued for Christmas since, if Jesus hadn’t been born, we wouldn’t be celebrating his resurrection at Easter. My mom knew her catechism, though, and insisted that Easter is the more important celebration.

With all the build-up to Christmas, it’s easy to think that it’s more important. I’ve heard that even Halloween beats out Easter as far as the secular build-up, decorations and money spent. Yet for Christians, Easter is our true high feast. Its importance is such that we need the season of Lent to prepare ourselves — and a “week of weeks” from Easter to Pentecost — to celebrate it well.

The Catholic Update Video “The Church Celebrates: Lent and Easter” offers story, witness, teaching and music video segments to give your people an overall orientation to the meaning and message of the whole Easter Season — from Ash Wednesday through Pentecost. Key to the message is that baptism is central to Christian identity in the lives of all believers. Lent is a time of final preparation for baptism by catechumens — and a time for reflection on the meaning and relevance of baptism in the lives of those of us who are already baptized.

This one program will have multiple uses in your parish: RCIA, adult faith formation, liturgical minister formation, worship commission formation and catechist formation/enrichment. Click here to see a video clip from the story segment (Windows Media) and music video segment (Windows Media).

Franciscan Radio
Day by Day Through Lent
If you’re looking for an easy and inexpensive way to inspire your parishioners this Lenten season, I recommend the new Catholic Update “Rediscover Lent: Day by Day” by Matthew Kelly. 
A much condensed version of the book Rediscover Lent by Matthew Kelly, it offers parishioners the daily reading citation with a brief thought for each day of Lent based on the seven pillars of Catholicism: confession, daily prayer, the Mass, the Bible, fasting, spiritual reading and the rosary. This educational and inspirational piece is affordable enough to be given to every parishioner.
Here’s an excerpt from the introduction:

“Over the coming weeks of Lent, I invite you to reflect with me on seven pillars of Catholic spirituality. These anchors of our faith combine 2,000 years of spiritual wisdom into a handful of spiritual exercises. They may be ancient practices, but don’t let that fool you into believing they’re not relevant to your life in the modern world. These practices are dynamic and ever fresh.

“A tree with deep roots can weather any storm. Sink these roots, the seven pillars of Catholic spirituality, deep into your life, and you’ll weather any storm. You will also come to know the abundant life that Jesus invites us to experience both here and in eternity.”

SAVE! Get 20% off Rediscover Lent and The Sacred Heart for Lent. Use promo code “LENT2012” to receive the special. Offer ends Feb. 28, 2012, and is not valid with any other discounts or offers.
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