Ash Wednesday

Today we recognize the beginning of the Lenten season together with the entire Church throughout the world. The Church reminds us that Lent is a time to return to Christ by remembering His passion and renewing our baptismal commitment. We remember and participate in the greatest sacrifice Christ made for us by observing three practices from Church tradition: prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Through prayer, we actively seek the Lord and rediscover His presence in our lives. By almsgiving—which involves giving money as well as sharing our gifts with others—we learn the meaning of service and giving of ourselves. And by fasting, we learn sacrifice and self-control.

At CRL, we recognize the beauty of these traditions and the importance of sharing them as a community. Each of us has his or her own way of following the Church’s invitation to deepen our relationship with Christ during Lent. No matter our vocation or occupation, there are endless ways to incorporate prayer, almsgiving and fasting into our daily lives. The staff at CRL took the time to reflect on a few ways we will participate in Lent this year. We hope this will inspire you to do the same!

As I was reflecting about Lent this year, I realized that I am struggling with stress. Because I started school this semester in addition to my work at CRL, I have seemingly no money, no time and no energy left to give! This led me to what I will work on this Lent. In addition to the rule of prayer that I live everyday, I am adding two acts of adoration. The words from a Psalm struck me the other day, and I think they will help me look at my stress in a different way and invite Christ into it: “Praise the Lord, for He is good; sing praise to our God, for He is gracious; it is fitting to praise Him. He heals the brokenhearted and binds their wounds. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; to His wisdom there is no end.” As for fasting, I am going to make a budget and stick to it—for me this is much harder than it sounds! I really need to practice self-control in this way. Lastly, I will offer my stress for those who struggle to find their Vocation. Usually what I plan to work on for Lent changes, as Christ shows me more of what He wants—but I am happy with my start!

– Morgan, Director of Communication

As this is my first Lent married, my husband Connor and I have been discerning very specifically what we want to accomplish together this year. We’ve been married now for just over a month so we see this Lent as an opportunity to help us create positive habits in our marriage. We are setting aside time each week to go to daily Mass and adoration together so that we continue to create more times of shared worship in our marriage. We will be taking conscious fast times from technology and the constant connectivity, in order to spend more quality time together in our daily lives. Lastly, we have chosen to sponsor a child in an after school and summer sports program at a local non-profit gym. We have both always been involved in sports so allowing other children that same opportunity is important to us as well as a great opportunity for us to reflect in gratitude for the gifts we have been given.

– Annie, Project Coordinator

For many years my husband, Dave, and I celebrated the Lenten season with our four children. This included many fun and sometimes elaborate activities to engage the whole family in the preparation for Easter. It was enjoyable, but now that our children are adults, my husband and I mostly just celebrate together. Dave and I are fasting together each week; so much the better to do it together for accountability and encouragement! I am also blessed this year that a couple of our children will fast together with us. Every year I choose 5 virtues as themes for prayer time and reading during each of the first 5 full weeks of Lent. The focus for Holy Week is on the Passion of Christ. I will also attend daily mass during the week. At CRL we are very fortunate that the University of St. Thomas offers several opportunities for daily Mass each day. For almsgiving, I am thinking that maybe it’s time to assemble bags for those who stand near the freeway ramps in the Twin Cities. I’ve always said I would do this, but haven’t followed through.

– Peg, Director of Development