Many Catholics throughout the Diocese of Rochester are joining together this month to read and discuss religious books as a means of Lenten reflection.
For the past several years, Blessed Sacrament Parish in Rochester has hosted a Lenten book club for young adults, and this year was no exception. The club is now reading Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives by Wayne Muller, who contends that Sabbath time can be any time used to refresh the mind and body and restore creativity and happiness.
Sister of Mercy Marlene Vigna, pastoral associate at St. James Parish in Irondequoit, is facilitating an “intensive study seminar” on Thomas Moore’s Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life. Sister Vigna chose to study Moore’s book because Lent is a prime time for examining your spiritual life, she said.
“I expect that it will be a wonderful experience for all of us in terms of learning. I thought it would be challenging and provocative,” Sister Vigna said.
Since the book includes a lot of philosophy, mythology and psychology and can be a tough read, Sister Vigna interviewed those interested before forming the seminar group. She expects seminar participants to be serious in their study of the book, but feels the spiritual rewards will be well worth the effort.
“I don’t care if they don’t understand all the mythology and all the psychology that’s in there, but if at the end of those six weeks they have come to a deeper understanding of the awareness of the needs of their own soul and how their soul makes those needs known, then it’s been successful,” she said.
At St. Vincent DePaul Parish in Churchville, a group is meeting once a week during Lent to discuss The Cup of Our Life: A Guide for Spiritual Growth by Joyce Rupp.
In the book, Rupp uses an ordinary cup as a symbol of her inner journey, recounting a memory of looking into an empty cup and seeing in that cup her own spiritually drained self. Our spiritual lives are in a constant process of emptying and refilling, like a cup, and God quenches our spiritual thirst through ordinary experiences. Rupp invites readers to keep a cup in a special place of prayer as a reminder of their spiritual thirst, according to Pat Ver Weire, faith-formation coordinator at St. Vincent DePaul.
The Cup Of Our Life is broken into short chapters which can be read as daily devotionals. If one chapter is read each day, the book takes the reader through a six-week journey ideally suited to the Lenten season, Ver Weire said.
“We found out last year during Lent that people really want something to do every day. They have to be committed to something,” Ver Weire said.