The Catholic Church throughout the world is celebrating the Year of Faith promulgated by the Pope Benedict XVI. As Catholics in this Archdiocese we are challenged to make real the Second Pastoral Priority – to Revitalise Catholic Culture and Identity and in so doing to deepen our own faith.
This Lent, more so, we are called to remember and celebrate who we are as Catholics, to deepen knowledge of our faith, to recall and imitate the Lenten practices of our ancestors in the faith.
This article proposes an activity that parish families can do in their parishes to live the faith we profess.
The members of a “parish family” are:
•The whole household, including children and adults,
•Groups in the parish…the persons in the many ministries…Confirmation class, Legion of Mary, RCIA, lectors, altar servers etc.
•The schools in the parish
The PARISH FAMILY “TREE of LENTEN PROMISES” refers to a tree placed strategically where it can be seen and accessed by parishioners. Individuals and groups place the promises they wish to make for the Lenten season on the tree. Parish groups can ponder on the promise they wish to commit to at one of their meetings.
The project is explained to the whole parish, individuals and groups. The individuals and groups write their promises on a “leaf” or a “flower’ or a “fruit” made out of paper. These will be displayed on the tree during Lent. Of course, the promises have to be “age-appropriate”.
At Mass, perhaps on the first or second Sunday of Lent, parishioners can process up to the tree and place their Lenten promise,
This project will only bear fruit if the parishioners are constantly reminded of their promises, by word and by referring to the tree.
These activities are to be done from the heart and not grudgingly.
SUGGESTED CATHOLIC ACTIVITIES/PRACTICES
(These are based on the three ways of doing penance i.e. prayer, fasting and abstinence, but looked at in a broad sense):
Persons can choose as many as they wish:
*Say a decade of the Rosary or the entire Rosary every day, as a family if possible
*Consciously say the Grace before and after meals in gratitude to God for life and food
*Readily offer help at home, at school, in the parish and at the workplace
*Spend some time before God in silence each morning and evening
*Do the loving thing, especially without expecting notice or thanks
*Accept love when it is given to you
*Make an effort to smile at those you meet
*Do household chores and other duties without grumbling
*Tell the truth
*Avoid doing things that hurt other people
*Remain silent and do not provoke a fight
*Actively participate at Mass
*Learn about the lives of the saints
*Visit the sick, if you can’t do this physically, you can phone or text them
*Feed the hungry
*Pray for the dying
*Study a section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
*Attend Faith Formation Courses
*Read and pray the Sunday gospel before each weekend’s liturgy
*Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation
*Ponder the documents of Vatican II
*Attend Mass during the week
*Recite the Angelus at 6.00 a.m., midday and 6.00 p.m.