We are now less than two weeks away from Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Lent is in many ways a forty-day long parish-wide retreat during which time we prepare to celebrate the Paschal Mystery at Easter and welcome new members into the community at the Easter Vigil. As a parish, our focus is on praying for and supporting the catechumens and candidates with whom we will be celebrating the Easter sacraments and purifying our faith community as we prepare to welcome new members. On a personal level, Lent is a time for penance and transformation as we prepare to renew our Baptismal Promises on Easter Sunday.
It is important to respect the communal aspect of Lent. Community prayer and action are central to our Lenten experience. For instance, the signing of our foreheads with ashes on Ash Wednesday is a communal experience, where we enter into the season as a penitential community. Our Mardi Gras celebration is communal preparation for Lent. We have many additional communal celebrations during Lent, such as weekly Stations of the Cross and Communal Penance Services. The Lenten Giving Tree is a way we come together as a community to give alms. Friday abstinence is a communal act of penance. To eat meat on those days is not so much a sin against God as it is a sin against the community. We separate ourselves from our communal act of fasting. Even our Friday Fish Frys help us to come together as a community.
Our parish team is preparing a very creative experience to strengthen our communal Lenten celebration and to make this Lent a forty-day parish-wide retreat. This experience is modeled after Dynamic Catholic’s “Best Lent Ever” program in which Matthew Kelly and his team provide daily reflections throughout the season. Many of us have subscribed to these reflections and found them to be inspirational and effective in enriching our Lenten experiences. Our team members will be offering our own reflections which will more directly address our community here in Macomb. This is a great way to connect with our parish team & community throughout the season, enhancing our communal Lenten experience. Literally, St. Isidore Church can come right into your home nearly every day during Lent. Stay tuned for details or learn more at stisidore.church/lvp