A Parish Lenten Prayer Booklet
It is more affordable and engaging than anything that money can buy!
In the Year of Faith it is an ideal strategy to get Catholics growing in faith and sharing their faith with one another. In one parish this booklet was so popular that they reprinted more by the second week of Lent because so many parishioners were proudly giving them out to family, friends, neighbors and colleagues.
Download the pieces below (MS Word and Publisher files) and read the recommendations below:
It can be this simple:
1. Invite forty people to be contributors (one per day of Lent or in the case of small parishes - two days for each contributor).
In selecting contributors the first time, consider members on staff, catechists, the RCIA team, youth ministry leaders, the bible study group, the parish council, marriage preparation couples, lectors or prayer team leaders.
2. Send a letter of invitation, along with a simple set of instructions (sample below) for each contributor with the text of the readings for that day.
In the instructions consider a few focus questions to guide the contributors reflections: What do the scriptures say about...
- putting God first in my life?
- caring for my neighbor?
- doing God's will in daily decisions?
- leading others to God?
Or, based on my prayerful reflection on God's Word on this day...
- How can I give witness to my faith at home, in the workplace or at my parish?
- Am I a Catholic on purpose or a Catholic by default?
- What do I need from God to be Catholic and Confident?
3. Identify an editor who will collect the contributions but more importantly support first-time contributors. Sometimes a first-time contributor experiences writer's block. It is possible that all this contributor can do is list some of the questions that arose while giving prayerful consideration to the scripture passages assigned. A good editor can respond in at least two ways:
- Pose questions to break through the mental log-jam (e.g. Who do you relate to most in the story? What do you think the people around Jesus are thinking? How would you respond to Jesus? What makes this message so difficult to live out today?, etc.)
- Ask for a list of the questions than come to mind while pondering the assigned passages. Very often this is a fine contribution in itself. Good questions are often far more valuable than the best answers.
Not Much Easier Than This
A Sample Booklet is provided below. Simply replace the reflection for each day with those of your contributors as they arrive. If a contributor cannot fulfill their commitment and there is no one else or too little time, just use the one already provided. Note: where space is left empty [e.g. Parish Image or List of Contributors] or marked for [Your Parish Name] just add your information. Contact Dennis Mahaney to obtain the "editable" version via email attachment.
For Best Results
If the contributor is willing, include either a phone or email for others who might want to comment or discuss a particular reflection. This invites a real sharing of faith. Some parishes post the daily reflection at the parish website and facebook pages.
Timeline: Advise your contributors of a return date that allows you a few days to review the reflections (though this is best done as soon as they arrive) for making any necessary edits (e.g. typos). Otherwise you need only a week to have the booklets printed and placed in the church for parishioners on the Sunday immediately prior to Ash Wednesday.
Quantities: Print at least enough to supply one per household in the parish. Consider printing another 50% of that number for distribution by parishioners, for occasional Catholics and guests who attend on Ash Wednesday and even the First Sunday of Lent.
To obtain the "editable" version of the sample booklet,
contact: Office for Evangelization and Parish Life