Churches offer Lenten enrichment through book, video discussions
Using the Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and a DVD from Bishop Robert Barron, six young adults reflected on Jesus’ real presence in the Eucharist Feb. 19.
The gathering was part of a Monday-evening Lenten discussion series at Rochester’s Blessed Sacrament Church. Participants noted that Lent is an ideal time to blend reflections on the Christ we receive in the Eucharist — particularly during this Year of the Eucharist in the Diocese of Rochester — with the Christ who sacrificed his life for us on the cross.
“You can’t have one without the other,” said Sue Howard, pastoral associate and young-adult minister for the Southeast Rochester Catholic Community of Blessed Sacrament, St. Boniface and St. Mary churches.
“To see Christ as a king is one thing. But to see him as a servant and slave is quite another,” added Becky Girresch, 25.
Blessed Sacrament is among many diocesan locales embracing Lent by offering video- and book-based initiatives. Others include:
• St. Joseph, Penfield — ChristLife videos and Lent with the Saints: Daily Reflections by Franciscan Father Greg Friedman.
• St. Louis, Pittsford — Father Mike Schmitz’ videos, Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelly and Praying the Rosary Like Never Before: Encounter the Wonder of Heaven and Earth by Edward Sri.
• St. Mary Southside, Elmira — Bridges to Contemplative Living on the writings of Thomas Merton.
• Auburn Knights of Columbus — “Mondays with Merton.”
• All Saints, Lansing, and Holy Cross, Dryden — Henri Nouwen’s The Return of the Prodigal Son.
• St. James the Apostle, Trumansburg — Mother Teresa’s No Greater Love.
• St. Rita, Webster — Matthew Kelly’s Perfectly Yourself.
• St. Jerome, East Rochester — Pope Benedict XVI’s 2005 encyclical, Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love); and Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving: Spiritual Practices That Draw Us Closer to God by Kevin Perrotta.
• St. Vincent de Paul, Churchville — The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus by John R. Cross.
• In addition, Scripture-related discussions have been held at St. Charles Borromeo in Elmira Heights, St. Christopher in North Chili, St. Mary in Auburn and St. John of Rochester in Fairport.
For Tom McCauley, the meetings at Blessed Sacrament enhance the spiritual growth he feels is vital at this time of year. The 26-year-old observed that Lenten efforts cannot be limited to the self-sacrifice represented by abstinence.
“If I don’t put anything in its place, I’m kind of empty,” he said.