Lenten opportunities abound in Tier - Catholic Courier
Sister Raymond Joseph (left) serves a bowl of her chicken noodle soup to Howard J. Fisher March 7 during one of the Lenten "Soup and Scripture" luncheons held at St. Mary Church in Elmira. Sister Raymond Joseph (left) serves a bowl of her chicken noodle soup to Howard J. Fisher March 7 during one of the Lenten "Soup and Scripture" luncheons held at St. Mary Church in Elmira.

Lenten opportunities abound in Tier

Lent calls us to go the extra mile, to stretch repeatedly beyond our normal faith practices. Thanks to offerings from Southern Tier parishes, bundles of opportunities have existed to help achieve this ideal.

Activities in the Tier this past Lenten season have included:

* Retreats/missions/lectures. In Schuyler Catholic Community (St. Mary of the Lake Church, Watkins Glen/St. Benedict, Odessa), Father Paul Bonacci, pastor, led a mission on "Life in the Spirit" Feb. 20-22 to begin Lent.

Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick parishes in Tioga County held a retreat Feb. 26-28. Led by Pat Lawler of Mercy Prayer Center in Rochester, it was spread among all four churches: St. Margaret Mary, Apalachin/St. Patrick, Owego/St. James, Waverly/St. John the Evangelist, Newark Valley.

St. James, Trumansburg, held a retreat mission March 24-28 led by Father Paul Nicholson from Canada.

St. Mary Our Mother, Horseheads, hosted a regional adult faith-formation series on the Holy Spirit with Fathers Walter Wainwright, George Heyman and John Firpo presenting.

Ukrainian Father Jamie King lectured on Eastern-rite spirituality and theology March 10-14 at Holy Cross, Dryden/St. Anthony, Groton/All Saints, Lansing. Also in the northern Tompkins County cluster, Deacon George Kozak led a session about the rosary March 6 as well as a meditation on the Passion narratives March 20; and Ed Pierson, pastoral associate, spoke on the complementary roles of clergy and laity March 15.

The Unity Council of Churches, with a theme of the sacraments, rotated its weekly parish retreat among its planning group (St. Rose, Lima/St. Agnes, Avon/St. Matthew, Livonia/St. Mary, Honeoye/St. Paul of the Cross, Honeoye Falls).

On March 14 at Immaculate Heart of Mary, Painted Post, Deacon Raymond Defendorf spoke on his trips to the Holy Land.

Peter Kimeu, a Catholic Relief Services representative from East Africa, spoke in early March at Our Lady of the Valley Parish (St. Ann, Hornell/St. Mary, Rexville); All Saints, Lansing; St. Patrick, Owego; Catholic Charities, Elmira; and Holy Family Middle School, Elmira.

St. Agnes/St. Paul of the Cross/St. Rose cluster youths shared a Lenten "Facebook Retreat" consisting of a daily inspirational message.

St. Mary, Elmira, hosted a diocesan middle-school youth retreat, "Three Days," March 24.

* Meals. Friday fish fries, as well as St. Patrick’s Day and St. Joseph’s Day gatherings, have abounded — yet parish soup meals ranked especially high in volume.

At St. Mary, Elmira, "Soup and Scripture" led by Sister Raymond Joseph, RSM, took place on Wednesdays after noon Mass.

Tuesday soup suppers were conducted in St. Luke the Evangelist Parish (St. Patrick, Mount Morris/St. Mary, Geneseo/Holy Angels, Nunda/St. Thomas Aquinas, Leicester/St. Lucy, Retsof).

An ecumenical program, "My Favorite Prayer," took place on Mondays at Our Lady of Lourdes, Elmira, with a Vespers service, speaker and soup supper. The church also hosted a women’s afternoon of reflection, "Opening the Door of Our Hearts," on March 18 that included prayer, meditation, music, talks and a simple supper.

St. Charles Borromeo, Elmira, hosted Soup and Scripture on Fridays with lunch and reflection.

At St. James, Trumansburg, Soup and Spirituality was held Wednesday evenings.

Prayer and soup gatherings took place at Holy Family Parish (St. Pius V, Cohocton/St. Joseph, Wayland/St. Mary, Dansville/Sacred Heart, Perkinsville).

St. Pius V, as well as Immaculate Conception, Ithaca, were each to host a Seder Supper April 4, with St. Benedict, Odessa, doing likewise March 31.

The cluster of St. Mary, Bath/St. Gabriel, Hammondsport, held Wednesday Stations of the Cross followed by Mass, a simple meal, and a program on Christianity and Catholicism. St. Gabriel also took part in Wednesday midday services and luncheons with area churches, serving as host March 28.

* Study/discussion. A DVD Lenten series took place on Tuesday mornings at St. Matthew, Livonia. In addition, St. Matthew held a discussion series based on "This I Believe," a collection of the personal philosophies and credos of remarkable men and women; as well as discussion sessions about employment on Mondays.

A "Rise and Shine" series was held Sunday mornings at St. Charles Borromeo, Elmira, with discussion of the book Journey Into Light by Sister Joan Chittister, OSB.

St. Catherine of Siena, Ithaca, offered a series "Meeting Christ in Prayer" throughout and after Lent, as well as discussion March 4 on John Allen’s book, The Future Church: Trends Revolutionizing the Church.

All Saints Parish (St. Mary, Corning/St. Vincent de Paul, Corning/Immaculate Heart of Mary, Painted Post) hosted a video series, "Catholicism," on Tuesdays.

Four small Christian communities from St. Mary Our Mother, Horseheads, gathered for reflection and Scripture study.

St. Ann, Hornell, hosted a one-hour forum each Thursday about various aspects of our faith.

* Prayer/charity. Living Stations of the Cross have been performed weekly by Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick youths, with the finale set for Good Friday, April 6, at St. Margaret Mary, Apalachin, at 7:30 p.m.

Immaculate Conception, Ithaca, held a youth-led Stations March 30 as did St. Benedict, Odessa on Good Friday, April 6; St. Catherine of Siena, Ithaca, involved parishioners of all ages leading Friday Stations of the Cross during Lent; and a Stations of the Cross for women took place March 1 at St. Mary, Elmira.

A Living Rosary was held March 8 at St. Charles Borromeo, Elmira.

The Divine Mercy Chaplet was prayed at St. Casimir, Elmira, before 7 a.m. Masses.

St. Joseph, Campbell, erected a Lenten prayer banner placed near the statue of the Blessed Mother, with written intentions being placed on it.

The Ancient Order of Hibernians held its annual Corporate Communion Mass March 11 at Ss. Peter and Paul, Elmira.

Forty Days for Life, a prayerful effort for an end to abortion involving many area churches and denominations, took place outside Ithaca Planned Parenthood Feb. 22-April 1.

St. Catherine of Siena, Ithaca, collected food for the Samaritan Center and Ithaca Kitchen Cupboard.

St. Mary, Elmira, had a Lenten coin bank in church to support Elmira Community Kitchen, Samaritan Center, Second Place East and Operation Rice Bowl.

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