Lenten missions, programs abound - Catholic Courier

Lenten missions, programs abound

A number of parishes in the Finger Lakes region will host special Lenten programs in the coming days and weeks, and two faith communities recently embarked on a three-year evangelization program called Disciples in Mission.

St. Patrick Parish in Victor will host a Lenten retreat for the six parishes in the Northwest Ontario Planning Group. John L. Bell, a minister of the Church of Scotland, will preach at the retreat about the “Unseen Sides of Jesus.” The retreat will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. March 5-7 in the church’s parish center, 115 Maple Ave.

Bell has lectured and preached throughout the English-speaking world and is a member of the Iona Community, which is an ecumenical Christian community founded in 1938. Members of this community are committed to seeking new ways of living the Gospel in today’s world. Bell and his colleagues in the Wild Goose Worship and Resource Groups — a semi-autonomous project of the Iona Community — have produced more than 50 books and recordings of congregational songs and anthems as well as dramatic, reflective and liturgical resources.

For more information about the retreat, contact St. Patrick at 585/924-7111.

St. Mary of the Lake Parish in Ontario has planned a series of Lenten presentations, which will be held at the church, 5823 Walworth Road, at 5 p.m. each Sunday during Lent. Each evening will feature a different speaker and topic.

Father Peter Clifford, pastor of St. Michael Parish in Newark, will talk about the church’s mission of evangelization on March 5, and on March 12 Father Robert Bourcy, pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Macedon, will talk about the person of Jesus, the son of God and Mary.

Sister Doreen Glynn, CSJ, pastoral administrator of St. Mary, will speak March 19 about the proclamation of Jesus and the kingdom of God, and on March 26 Father James Jaeger, pastor of the Catholic Communities of St. Anne and St. Gregory in Palmyra and Marion, will speak about Jesus’ teachings about nonviolence and forgiveness.

On April 2 Deacon Jim Nail, pastoral minister at St. Mary, will speak about Gospel values and the transformation of society, and on April 9 Father Symon Peter Ntaiyia, an extern priest from Kenya, will speak about contemplation and action.

For more information about the Lenten program, contact St. Mary of the Lake at 315/524-2611.

Teens in junior and senior high school are invited to attend a “Lenten Treasure Hunt” with Sister Kathleen Clary on March 11 from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. at St. John’s School in Clyde. The Sister of St. Joseph will talk about Lent’s treasures, including the treasures teens can bring to and take away from the liturgical season. She will probably touch on the traditional Lenten staples of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, said Sister Catherine Gibbons, SSJ, faith-formation coordinator for St. John the Evangelist Parish in Clyde, St. Patrick Parish in Savannah and St. Michael Parish in Lyons.

“I wanted to do something to help them, as they get into their teen years, to see that these things are relevant to their lives, just like in our own lives we go through cycles of suffering and resurrection,” she said.

For more information, contact Sister Gibbons at 315/923-3941.

The Roman Catholic Community of Geneva and St. Mary of the Lake Parish in Ontario were to begin the first phase of Disciples in Mission this Lent. The program was launched in 1996 by the Paulist National Catholic Evangelization Association and has since been used in more than 2,000 parishes across the United States, according to the program’s Web site, www.disciplesinmission.org.

Through the program, parishioners form small groups and meet once a week to discuss the Lenten Scripture readings. This provides a nonthreatening way for parishioners of the Roman Catholic Community of Geneva to reflect on these passages with others, Father Roy Kiggins, pastor, wrote in a recent bulletin column.

“Participants will share what these passages mean in the context of their lives,” he wrote.

The staff at St. Mary was attracted to Disciples in Mission in part because of that emphasis on small-group sharing, Sister Glynn said. Parishioners there are familiar with the concept of small faith-sharing groups — or small Christian communities — because they have existed at the parish in one form or another for more than a decade.

Even those who don’t join small faith-sharing groups can still be involved with Disciples in Mission through prayer or by reading the materials on their own. The program is very inclusive and through it, participants will become more comfortable sharing their faith with others.

“It’s another way of responding to our baptismal call to evangelize,” Sister Glynn said.

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