In looking for resources for this year’s Lent program, I came across what I think is the one of the first Lent programs that Pax Christi USA undertook, or at least put on paper. It is a small pamphlet entitled, “Prayer and Lent” from 1982. This is from the introduction:
Lent is about becoming this baptized people; it is about initiating new Christians which can only be done face-to-face with our gospel and our failure, face-to-face with ourselves, the church. We do not make up a special Lent about peace and justice then. We just read the scriptures one more time, sing the psalms more by heart, kneel more often with the ancient words, Kyrie eleison…
The scriptures, song, kneeling and praying must be done by us, must bring us with all that baggage we carry toward the font. With prayer, Lent has its ancient disciplines: fasting and almsgiving. They will be there when we finally discover that we need them, for we have no other way to journey toward our passover. In fasting from much that ties us to riches and war, in making alms even of the best gifts, we get closer to what the font’s waters ever hide and yet proclaim: the battle with evil is lifelong, exhausting, immensely confusing.
We hope that what follows will make us more conscious of the prayer of the tradition and the prayer within us, aware too of our groaning world, so that we may keep Lent and so come to the paschal three days and to Eastertime.
So it has been at least 35 years by my count that Pax Christi USA has offered a Lenten program. We hope the resources below inspire and assist you in your own journey of prayer, fasting and almsgiving this season.
Our Common Lenten Prayer
This is the fast that pleases me:
to break unjust fetters,
to let the oppressed go free,
to share your bread with the hungry
and shelter the homeless poor.
If you do away with the yoke,
the clenched fist, the wicked word,
if you give your bread to the hungry
and relief to the oppressed,
your light will rise in the darkness. (Isaiah 58:6-7, 10)
All praise be yours, God our Creator,
as we wait in joyful hope
for the flowering of justice
and the fullness of peace.
All praise for this day, this season.
By our weekly fasting and prayer
cast out the spirit of war, of fear and mistrust,
and make us grow hungry for human kindness, thirsty for solidarity
with all the people of your dear earth.
May all our prayer, our fasting and our deeds
be done in the name of Jesus. Amen.
(Source: Archdiocese of Chicago, 1983)
REFLECTIONS FOR SUNDAYS AND HOLY DAYS
On this page throughout the season, we’ll be featuring reflections from a variety of authors of past Lenten booklets. We’ll also be sending our weekly Lenten emails directly to your inbox if you’re subscribed to our free email service. (Click here to sign up if you are not already subscribed to our free email service.)
- Ash Wednesday, Feb. 18, by Joan Chittister, osb
- First Sunday of Lent, Feb. 22, by Mitch Finley
- Second Sunday of Lent, Mar. 1, by Joyce Hollyday
- Third Sunday of Lent, Mar. 8, by Joe Nangle, ofm
- Fourth Sunday of Lent, Mar. 15, by Mary Schneiders, OP
- Fifth Sunday of Lent, Mar. 22, by Dorothy Stoner, osb
- Palm Sunday, Mar. 29, by M. Shawn Copeland, Ph.D.
- Holy Thursday, Apr. 2, by Megan McKenna, Ph.D.
- Good Friday, Apr. 3, by Colleen Kelly and Bronagh Kelly Jones
- Holy Saturday, Apr. 4, by Tom Cordaro
- Easter Sunday, April 5, by Sheila Cassidy
PRAY-STUDY-ACT EACH WEEK OF LENT
Each week, we’ll be crafting a special Pray-Study-Act e-bulletin (PSA) with resources for us all to use and to act on in common.
- First Week of Lent, Feb. 22-28
- Second Week of Lent, Mar. 1-7
- Third Week of Lent, Mar. 8-14
- Fourth Week of Lent, Mar. 15-21
- Fifth Week of Lent, Mar. 22-28
- Holy Week, Mar. 29-Apr. 5
- Lenten resources available in the Pax Christi USA Store
- Lenten Reflection Leaflet from Pax Christi Metro New York in MSWord and PDF
- Lead Us from War to Peace: A Service of Repentance (free download, MSWord)
- Litany for Peace: A prayer from Pax Christi USA to use daily throughout Lent (pdf)
- Litany of Repentance from the Fruits of War (pdf)
- An Examination of Conscience (pdf)
- Lent resources from EcoSpirituality Resources
- Resources from the USCCB for Lent
- For all posts related to Lent 2015, click here
SPECIAL EVENTS AND DAYS OF OBSERVANCE
Good Friday Observances
Traditionally, many Pax Christi USA local groups plan and stage a “Way of the Cross” event on Good Friday, connecting the sufferings of Christ during his passion with the suffering of our brothers and sisters at the hands of violence, greed, poverty, sickness and war. Below are resources for groups interested in undertaking a Way of the Cross in their community on Good Friday. Also please let us know if you have a Way of the Cross planned in your community. We will list below the names of groups, with contact information, which will be staging a Way of the Cross this year.