As the season of Lent approaches, we are invited to walk in the steps of Christ, to live a life of conversion marked by faith. As we hear the Word of God proclaimed over these weeks of Lent and in Holy Week and encounter Christ in the sacraments He has given, we are brought into acute consciousness of our own discipleship as a gift and challenge.
Lent cannot leave us where we are but invites us to renewal, to recommit ourselves wholeheartedly to Jesus and his world-transforming mission. We are being sent to reshape the world by reshaping our own lives and the lives of others by our increase in prayer, our fasting and self-sacrifices, and our almsgiving and charity. As Pope Francis has said, “During this Lent, then, brothers and sisters, let us all ask the Lord: “Fac cor nostrum secundum cor tuum”: Make our hearts like yours. In this way we will receive a heart which is firm and merciful, attentive and generous, a heart which is not closed, indifferent or prey to the globalization of indifference” (Lenten Message 2015). Lent is inviting each of us as disciples to allow our hearts to “be pierced by the Spirit so as to bring love along the roads that lead to our brothers and sisters”.
This season our Pastoral Planning Office, together with the agencies of our Diocese, is offering a range of Lenten resources for your home, parish and ministries. We hope these materials inspire and support your own family and community to walk in the steps of Christ, in his love and grace to undertake a fruitful Lenten journey.
Available to all in our Parramatta Diocese and beyond are the following Lenten resources:
Family Prayer Kit – the Family and Life Office has assembled family prayer kits for Lent 2015 which parishes will soon receive. Parishes can assemble their own using these instructions. Family prayer kits containing items such as a rosary bead, LED candle, and prayer cards can be an effective way of growing faith in your parish and school families. We hope this initiative might inspire your community to continue to reach out to families throughout Lent and the Easter season when many people join us for worship who may not ordinarily attend our parishes.
Lenten Calendar for Kids – Included in the above kits but also available here is our Lenten Calendar for Kids which will appeal to families and the young to walk in the steps of Christ over the forty days of Lent. This may also form a helpful part of sacramental preparation or catechesis, or any ministry which reaches out to the young during the season of Lent and into Easter.
Prayer of the Faithful booklet – assembled in collaboration with the Office for Worship, this resource contains intercessory prayers for the season of Lent and Holy Week and can be shared with liturgical ministers or ministry groups for their use.
Stations of the Cross booklets – this Lenten resource has been assembled together with Catholic Youth Parramatta. The booklet contains two sections – a section for prayer and reflection, and a second section containing a script that enables youth groups to enact the tradition Stations of the Cross in their church or other appropriate space.
Easter prayer cards – these cards can be distributed from the Easter Vigil onwards, and are focused on the Resurrection of Christ and welcome participants to the life of your parish. Parishes will receive hardcopies of these cards but a template is also available for download here, allowing you to print as many additional copies as you would like for your community this Easter.
The Institute for Mission is offering a Lenten spirituality session at two sites in our Diocese in February and March 2015. For more information or to register for this special opportunity for prayer and reflection, visit www.ifm.org.au
We hope Lent 2015 proves a time of genuine spiritual renewal for you, your communities of faith and families.
With every blessing,
Director, Pastoral Planning Office