CATHOLIC BY GRACE | My life by a creek -- like Lent, a place of renewal

Denise Bossert

Crane Creek was the rambling stream that ran behind our Iowa home when I was a child. Its swelling water would rush mightily in the spring and flood the basements, except ours -- thanks to the sump pump the board of trustees included in the building plan of the new parsonage.

BEFORE THE CROSS | Lent is time to reflect on joy

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson spoke to a group of young adults Feb. 18. about his recent pastoral letter. The event was sponsored by Crossroads St. Charles, a ministry for married and single people in their 20s and 30s. For more information, see www.crossroadsstcharles.com.

Joy is not a Lenten theme -- or is it? The purpose of the penitential season of Lent, which involves six weeks of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, is to prepare us for the joy of Easter. What better way to prepare for joy than to meditate on its meaning and its source? What more practical guide to finding, and living, joy than the Gospel of Jesus Christ -- the good news that is our inspiration and hope in the search for true happiness?

Evangelization, Bible series offered to parishes for Lent

The archdiocesan Catholic Education Center's Department of Religious Education has two programs that parishes may use during Lent to help people respond to the call of Pope Francis to reach out to others in the spirit of the New Evangelization.

The first program is titled "Catholicism: The New Evangelization" and is presented by Father Robert Barron. The Education Office noted that Father Barron has been described as the new Archbishop Fulton Sheen, a popular evangelizer with a weekly TV show in the 1950s.

Lent is the season to receive God's mercy

Second Sunday of Lent, February 24

Genesis 15:5-12,17-18

Philippians 3:17-4:1

Luke 9:28b-36 

I Thought You Should Know | As Lent begins, remember that all we have is a gift from God

On this first Sunday of Lent, God's word to us has us focus on the providence of God, and His incredible goodness to us! It is a time to focus on all that He has done for us and on all that He is for us!

In today's first reading, Moses is instructing his people to give thanks to God for all that He has done for them, beginning with their father Jacob's sojourn into Egypt with "a small household... (to live) there as an alien."

Rice Bowl responds to needy people worldwide

Catholic Relief Services has a new design for its Rice Bowl project. The agency also has created resources to enrich the Lenten season experience.

One way to strengthen faith during Lent is through participation in the Rice Bowl program of Catholic Relief Services.

Since 1975, Catholics have donated more than $200 million to help the poor through CRS Rice Bowl.

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson recently wrote that CRS Rice Bowl "is a great way to get Catholics excited about our faith and about helping people in need around the world. The 2013 theme is 'For Lent, For Life. What you give up for Lent changes lives.' This theme reminds us that we can widen the door of faith through our care for the poor."

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