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February 5, 2014 / Cheryl Casey

Gearing Up for a Good Lent

Parishioners are more open to doing something “extra” during Lent than in any other season of the Church year. Consider sharing these new resources with your parishioners this coming Lent.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words
by Joan McKamey

Lent is a time for considering how and how well we put our faith into action. In recent postings on his Twitter feed, Pope Francis has said, “It is not enough to say we are Christians. We must live the faith, not only with our words, but with our actions” and “If we live the faith in our daily life, then our work too becomes a chance to spread the joy of being a Christian.”

As we celebrate the anniversary of Pope Francis’ election on 3/13, invite members of your parish to consider some lessons we learn from his words and actions.The March issue of Catholic Update offers Seven Lessons from Pope Francis (item C0314, available 2/18). We find him a great example of “walking the talk” of our faith and modeling for us all how to be disciples of Jesus Christ in today’s world.

Plan ahead to celebrate two more recent popes—John XXIII and John Paul II—as they are canonized on April 27. We offer a Catholic Update Saints John XXIII and John Paul II: Messengers of God’s Mercy (item C0414, available 2/18) by Carol Ann Morrow and two booklets John XXIII: A Short Biography and John Paul II: A Short Biography, both by Kerry Walters.

Looking for Something More?
by Joan McKamey

Are you looking for something more substantial to offer for Lent?

Consider the new book Stories of Jesus: 40 Days of Prayer and Reflection by Joseph Girzone (print book, audiobook). The author of the beloved Joshua series offers prayers and reflections on Gospel accounts of the words and deeds of Jesus. Each day opens with a passage from one of the Gospels, followed by an imaginative retelling of the Scripture story and a brief prayer. The 40-day format is ideal for Lent, or for any time of year you want a “retreat with Jesus.” Listen to a clip from the audiobook here.

Fast, Pray, Give: Making the Most of Lent
(book, 30-minute DVD with leader’s guide) looks at Lent through the lens of discipleship, encouraging us to adopt practices that help us more fully appreciate the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This six-week study resource can be used by small groups and individuals alike. For each week, it offers

  • quotations from Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church
  • inspiration about each topic
  • questions for reflection and discussion
  • a saint who inspires
  • a Lenten practice
  • a prayer

Watch this sample clip from the First Sunday of Lent and overview of the product by editor, Mary Carol Kendzia.

The Last Words of Jesus
(print book, audiobook) by Dan Horan, OFM, is another book to consider for this Lent. This new take on the last words of Jesus brings a fresh perspective to a time-honored meditation. Horan challenges readers to look at their lives through the lens of Jesus’ suffering and death and God’s immense love for us in the gift of Jesus.

Horan draws on works by noted scholars and spiritual writers and fashions a view of Jesus’ final words that’s contemporary and thought-provoking. View an interview with the author here.

More Lenten Resources
by Angela Glassmeyer

If you’re looking for a way to inspire your parishioners this Lent, I recommend one (or more!) of our Catholic Updates. You can even combine titles towards a quantity discount. Our newest Lenten issue is Finding Our Way Again from Melannie Svoboda, SND. Reflecting on each day’s Mass readings, Sister Melannie helps us see Lent as a season for finding our way again—facing who we are, where we’re going, and how to get there. Let this Catholic Update guide you—and your parishioners—through a meaningful Lent.
Find a little saintly inspiration from St. Thérèse of Lisieux, as Carol Ann Morrow guides us through Lent with St. Thérèse’s ‘Little Way’. The short, daily devotions are a great way to start or end each day.
For those who aren’t quite sure what the fuss about Lent is all about, try Lent: A Simple Guide. This Catholic Update provides a crash course on Lent and offers insights into what we’re really supposed to be focused on during the Lenten season.
Don’t forget the parish staff and key volunteers! Change Our Hearts: Daily Meditations for Lent is a new daily devotional for Lent. Written by liturgical musician and songwriter Rory Cooney, it uses the Lectionary texts as a springboard for reflecting on the meaning of Baptism. It’s a great pick for staff inspiration, catechists, Catholic school teachers, and RCIA catechumens and candidates. You can even order a few extras to put out for interested parishioners. (Call for bulk discount information!)

Faith Formation Forum

Share your ideas on faith formation at our online bulletin board, Faith Formation Forum. Our editors will screen and post your thoughts, and you can learn from others' ideas. Submit your ideas by clicking here.



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