Lent 2020


#LiveLent 2020: Ash Wednesday

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“During this Lent, then, brothers and sisters, let us all ask the Lord: ‘Fac cor nostrum secundum cor tuum’: Make our hearts like yours (Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus). In this way we will receive a heart which is firm and merciful, attentive and generous, a heart which is not closed, indifferent or prey to the globalization of indifference.”
– Pope Francis’s Lenten Message, 2015

As we enter the Holy Season of Lent, a time which gives us the opportunity not only to “give something up” as a sign of self-emptying love, but also to cultivate virtuous habits that help to make our hearts more Christ-like. This year, STM's Lenten theme is #LiveLent, which is an invitation to Live Simply, Live Justly and Live Prayerfully.

Live Simply

Try a “no buy” Lent. In the Gospel, Jesus invites us to consider the birds, whose every feather is accounted for by God, in order to remind us that God knows all of our needs and will take care of us. So perhaps we might take stock of the things that we possess, evaluate what we really need and then consider letting go and donating some of these things to charities, such as IRIS or Catholic Charities.

As days lengthen, try using less artificial light -- and if we’ve not yet done so -- let’s switch out our lightbulbs for LED lightbulbs. Do you drive to STM each week? Perhaps try carpooling with others who live nearby.

And . . . wait for it . . . STM is going meatless for programs during Lent as a way of reducing our environmental impact. Everyone can help to reduce our environmental impact by making sure all compostable items go in the compost bin, rather than in the trash.

Live Justly

Our Catholic Social Doctrine has a great deal to say about climate change and its impact on the most vulnerable. During Lent, take time to study up a bit on this. Here’s a helpful guide from the Catholic Climate Movement.

For those who are traveling over Spring Break, consider donating to one of the organizations that supports eco-friendly actions as carbon offsets like goldstandard.org.  Perhaps volunteer at the Yale Farm or Urban Resources Initiative.

Live Prayerfully

For those who have not yet had the opportunity, perhaps make a prayerful read of Pope Francis’s Laudato Si, or consider using this guide from Maryknoll, which provides weekly reflections highlighting the way in which the encyclical connects with the Lenten themes of prayer, fast, and act.

Perhaps take a few minutes each day to pray with the Scriptures or the daily Mass readings, which can be found on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) website. Daily reflections have been prepared by members of our community and are available on the STM Blog.

And all are invited to participate in any of the many available opportunities to pray the Stations of the Cross, adore Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament, or celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The Communal Reconciliation Service will take place on April 2, 2020 at 7pm. The USCCB has provided a Catholic Social Teaching Examination of Conscience for this purpose.

Finally, let’s all pray for and support each other, to Live Simply, Justly and Prayerfully, and for a Holy and Blessed Lent.

Fr. Ryan Lerner, Chaplain

Fr. Ryan Lerner, Chaplain

Fr. Ryan Lerner is Yale's 8th Catholic Chaplain.