After our Parish Penance Service on March 2, the Lenten Parish Mission 2015 followed on March 3 & 4 facilitated by Fr. Jack Stoeger. Fr. Jack is the Director of the Cardinal Manning House of Prayer for Priests in Los Angeles, CA. He provides spiritual direction to his brother priests and gives retreats to priests, bishops and lay people. As a fellow disciple, he inspires and helps others know and follow Jesus in their everyday lives.
The theme of this year’s Lenten Mission is “Responding to Pope Francis’ Challenge to Live the Joy of the Gospel”. Fr. Jack opened the Lenten Parish Mission with the song, “Christ Be Our Light”, followed by a reading from John 15:1-17, The Vine and the Branches. According to Fr. Jack, in order to respond to this challenge, one must learn to slow down and to moderate our life amidst technology. He continued to say that to become healthy and peaceful is not doing more but doing less and letting go more often - take a Sabbath rest to feel rejuvenated (Sabbath time may be spent in the Blessed Sacrament).
In groups of 4-5 participants, we prayed the scripture (Lectio Divina), reflecting on Psalm 23 and expressing specific words/phrases that touched us the most.
On the second evening of the Lenten Parish Mission, we were handed quotes from Pope Francis’ exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium” (The Joy of the Gospel) for our prayerful consideration and reflection. Fr. Jack said that we are being called by Jesus to live from the inside out and don’t let the outside things overwhelm us; and we are called to bear witness to a constantly new way of living together in fidelity to the Gospel. (Reported by Bernadette V. Cabe; photo taken by Rodel Eleccion)