Lent 2021 will look different this year. From sprinkling a bit of ash on a person’s head (rather than tracing a cross on their forehead) to livestreaming prayer services and offering “grab and go” Lenten meals, “adapt” will be a commonly heard word for many.
If your parish is looking for new ways to engage and invite your parishioners into deeper communion with Christ this Lent, take a look at one parish’s COVID-19 Lenten schedule. Feel free to use it for your own faith community, or adapt it based on your parish’s wants and needs.
Monday: Rosary (livestreamed)
No need to set up your livestream technology for this! All you need is a smart phone, a speaker (think father or an engaging volunteer), and a quiet place with good lighting.
Choose a time that allows people to easily log in, such as during the noon lunch hour. Purchase or make simple roseries and package them in a bag, along with a rosery guide, and hand them out on Sundays throughout Lent.
Tuesday: One Act of Sacrifice, One Act of Prayer
What better way to build community with your parishioners than a challenge to start the Lenten season! There are plenty of free online devotionals to take advantage of, such as Dynamic Catholic’s Best Lent Ever, and Blessed Is She resources.
If you have the time and the staff, you can also create a whole program from scratch, customized to your faith community. Perhaps it’s praying one specific prayer every day for a week and coming up with a daily or weekly challenge. Whatever it is, be sure that you promote it ahead of time so your parishioners can get in on the action!
Wednesday: Adoration & Benediction: in-person/livestreamed
Sometimes we need a light check-in with the Lord to examine our hearts and make sure we’re on track on our journey with the Lord. Offer your parishioners an opportunity to do that with an hour of Eucharistic adoration and benediction. One such ministry to watch is Arise Milwaukee, a non-profit Catholic ministry located in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee that is devoted to helping people encounter Jesus in a powerful way.
Each Wednesday they hold “Cor Jesu,” which is a Latin phrase for “Heart of Jesus.” It’s an opportunity for anyone in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to encounter Christ through Eucharistic Adoration, Reconciliation, praise, and worship, followed by Mass.
Be sure to offer this time of prayer and worship for both in-person and virtual participants. Choose a time that will allow people to easily get away, such as in the evening.
Thursday: Soup and Bread “to-go” Packages to Benefit Parish Ministries
One of the best ways to create close relationships with our parishioners is by being in close communion with them. The pandemic, however, has prevented many parishes from doing their usual fundraisers and other events. Don’t stop the food altogether though — carry-outs, deliveries, and curbside pick-up are all valuable options to offer. Partner with a local restaurant if making food yourself isn’t an option. All proceeds to benefit a parish ministry!
Friday: Stations of the Cross (in-person/livestreamed)
Here is a great way to take a well-known prayer and make it virtual for those who are unable to leave the house due to health, scheduling conflicts or lack of transportation. It can be as simple as someone following the priest around the church as he prays the stations or sharing a link of a prerecorded video.
Check out our own Tracy Earl Welliver as he prays the Stations of the Cross and reflects using his Everyday Stewardship theme. Share them with your parish contacts via email or post them on social media.
In honor of the Year of St. Joseph, being praying the 33-Day Consecration to St. Joseph. Have your priest or deacons record the prayer and a small reflection for the day and post it on social or send via email for others to pray along with.