A Silent Lent
Last week we announced our parish-wide initiative for Lent surrounding silence. As a family of parishes, we are going to focus on silent prayer this Lent. Silence isn’t entering into nothingness or a void. Silence is the context for prayer. In silence, we attempt to remove ourselves from distractions so that we can focus on the Lord. Sometimes good Catholic content, like bible studies, podcasts, books, devotional prayers, and videos can become a distraction from meeting God in the silence of our hearts.
With this in mind, we will have three initiatives to build our comfortability and appreciation of silence. The first is called the 1% Challenge. We are encouraging everyone to offer 1% of our day to God in prayer. Since there are 1,460 minutes in the day, 1% of our day is roughly 14 minutes. We are encouraging everyone to commit to 14 minutes of silent prayer for the 40 days of Lent (and beyond). The campaign will have a tagline “14 for 40.” One percent of our day is a small portion that we can give to God in the morning, at a lunch break, or in the evening.
If we’ve never spent 14 minutes in silent prayer, this could be a little challenging or intimidating. If we’ve tried but never found much fruitfulness, we can become discouraged. We can become bored for the time, thinking that something is wrong with us or God doesn’t want to be in conversation with us. Of course, all of these are lies of the devil. If we are beginning our life of silent prayer, we may need a guide to help us on the way, just as someone who is new to exercise may need a trainer or a coach. Over the next few weeks, we will communicate different ways we can spend time in silent prayer. I hope that this will help to build our prayer muscle.
The second initiative in our silent Lent will occur during Mass. The Church always encourages silence during Mass. The instructions state, “Sacred silence also, as part of the celebration, is to be observed at the designated times. Its nature, however, depends on the moment when it occurs in the different parts of the celebration.” Silence is even more encouraged during Lent, as the Church encourages musical restraint.
We will attempt to “lean in” to the designated silent parts of Mass (acknowledging our sins, reflecting after the homily, etc). As the Church instructs, we won’t have instrumental music during Lent and we’ll attempt to sing some of the Mass parts without musical accompaniment. This may be a bit of a challenge, but we are going to give it our best shot throughout Lent so that we can become more comfortable with silent prayer during Mass.
The final initiative of our Power of Silence campaign is to focus on the ministries that we already have and encourage them to build a space for silence in their meetings. This will mean encouraging our catechists to have time for silent prayer during CCD at an age-appropriate level, or spending time in silent prayer during meetings, prayer groups, and study groups. If you lead a group, you should have been contacted about incorporating silent prayer into your meetings.
We have plenty of opportunities to grow in prayer with Our Lord. I’d like to invite you to come to one of the many events that happen during Lent to meet the Lord in the silence. For any of these events, you don’t have to stay for a certain time. If you only have 10 minutes, feel free to drop by. Here are a few possibilities:
– Mondays-Saturdays 6:30am-7:30am at St. John Exposition and morning prayer at St. John (year round)
– Sunday 4:30pm-5:30pm at St. Lawrence Adoration and Evening Prayer (during Lent)
– Thursdays 9:00am-7:00pm rotating between Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph – All Day Adoration in the Church (year round).
Finally, we will add a few more time slots for Confession during Lent:
– Monday at St. Joseph – 5-6pm
– Thursday at Immaculate Conception after 8:00am Mass.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Sean Wilson