LENTEN ACTIVITIES AT LOYOLA
The liturgical Season of Lent commences early this year starting on February 14, 2018 with Ash Wednesday. Lent is an annual opportunity for Catholics to focus on our relationship with God and others through works of fasting, prayer and charity. Our school community will engage in various activities to help us to open our minds and hearts to the transforming power of God’s presence and grace. We will also do good works to bring healing and hope to others. Through prayer, we will reflect on how we can empty ourselves of our self-righteousness and pride so that by placing ourselves in God’s hands we are able to respond to God’s call in new ways
“Lent is a “gift” that needs preparation of the heart in order to know the desire of God. It is an opportunity of grace, an opportunity to grow, an opportunity to deepen our relationships and an opportunity to heal,” and all of these gifts come to us during the Lenten season.” Pope Francis
What are we as a school community doing during Lent?
ASH WEDNESDAY MASS:
The Ash Wednesday Mass will take place on Wednesday February 14th at 10:00 a.m. in the school Gymnasium with all grade levels in attendance. We welcome our Presiding Pastor, Father Ted Slaman, former pastor of St. Michael’s Parish in Oakville. We are very privileged to have Father Ted celebrate Mass with us on this day as this enables us to receive Holy Communion as well as ashes.
LENTEN VOCATIONS DAY MASS
Our school community will refrain from the normal activities of the school day to spend more time in prayer by gathering again for a Lenten Mass on Wednesday March 6th at 10:00 a.m. Father Tim Hingston will be the Presider. This Mass will also serve as our Vocations Day Mass. Mr. Garth Brown, President of the Serra Club of Halton along with other religious from the Hamilton Diocese will join us. The Serra Club is a part of Serra International, a worldwide movement that exists to promote vocations both to the priesthood and religious life. Over the last three years they have facilitated a Mass and a Vocations Tour in all nine Halton Region Secondary schools. A dozen priests, brothers, sisters, seminarians and deacons visit students in their schools in order to share their vocation stories and answer students’ questions. Various classes will gather in the Lecture hall, following the Mass to hear these vocation stories of the religious.
WEEKLY MORNING LENTEN REFLECTION
Lent offers a great opportunity to immerse oneself into the heart of the season and align thinking with the mind of the Church. We have this gift of time in the 40 days of Lent to get our hearts ready before the great celebration of Easter. Every Monday morning, interested staff and students will gather at 8:00 a.m. to listen to the readings of the day along with a brief meditation with a reflection question. Participants will be able to enjoy pondering the question in silence before the Tabernacle. This is a nice way to begin each school week during Lent.
Prayer is integral to a good Lent. This privileged time for prayer offers us a very special opportunity to grow in our relationship with God and to deepen our commitment to a way of life, rooted in our baptism. In our busy world, prayer provides us with an opportunity to slow down and reflect upon our faith. Our morning daily Lenten prayers will focus on daily scripture and serve as a reminder for us to seek those changes necessary for growth in holiness as well as to pray for those in need.
Lent invites time for heightened reflection, especially on the Passion of the Lord, and personal prayer. Traditional practices include devotions to Mary, Mother of Sorrows. Various classes will gather in the Chapel on Tuesdays, to pray the rosary with the Rosary Apostolate, focusing on the Sorrowful mysteries as Lent is a time for us to dwell on the suffering and death of Jesus. The rosary sessions will help students to examine their lives and their lives in relation to the cross of Jesus.
Here is a gentle reminder of the focus of the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary:
- Jesus at Gethsemene: His agony in the garden.
- The Scourging at the Pillar
- The Crowning of Thorns
- The Way of the Cross
- The Death of Jesus on the Cross
STATIONS OF THE CROSS:
The Stations of the Cross are an ancient tradition in the Catholic Church going back to the fourth century when Christians went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Like many of our Catholic traditions, the Stations of the Cross can be rich, deep, and meaningful, but at the same time we can lose sight of the significance and ways to relate this tradition to our everyday lives. Praying the Stations of the Cross is a powerful way to contemplate and enter into the mystery of Jesus’ gift of himself to us. Our school Chaplaincy Leader and Father David Avila, Associate Pastor of St. Matthew Parish, will lead our period 5, Grade 9 students in prayer with each station of the cross, throughout Lent.
WEEKLY PRAYER SERVICE
Prayer is one of the key foundation stones of Lent, so it is important to allow time for daily prayer. Since we observe these 40 days of Lent not as isolated individuals, but as members of the community of the Church, we will offer communal prayer. Every Tuesday during the last 10 minutes of the lunch periods, both staff and students are invited to attend a prayer service that focuses on the Gospel reading of the day. Everyone is welcome to attend.
SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION:
The Church also gives us this annual penitential season of Lent as a gift to remind us that we are ultimately meant for union with God. This Lenten season of penance is meant to prepare us for the joys of Easter. On Tuesday, March 20th, Father Tim Hingston and Father David Avila will be in the school Chapel from 8:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. to hear confessions.
VINCENT DE PAUL SOCIETY TOILETRY DRIVE
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a lay Catholic organization whose mission is to live the Gospel message by serving Christ in the poor with love, respect, justice and joy. The St. Matthew Parish Society has provided assistance to thousands of Oakville residents. We are supporting this wonderful charity by encouraging every Period 1 class to provide a toiletry care package which will include a $10.00 gift card from either Shoppers Drug Mart or Walmart along with six toiletry items: toothpaste, toothbrush, bar of soap, shampoo, conditioner and any size diapers. Collection will take place on Thursday March 8th.
CULTURE OF LIFE
Lent is a season of repentance, which leads to life. The Catholic Church urges all Christians to make a special commitment to help others to seek and defend the dignity of every human life. Loyola will be supporting a local culture of life charity by collecting diapers for Shifra Home, a registered, non-profit charity maternity residence for young women between the ages of 16 and 25. This collection of diapers will take place during the same time as our St. Vincent de Paul Society collection date.
DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE
Each year during Lent, Catholics are invited to stand in solidarity with communities in the global south who are struggling for dignity and justice. Loyola’s Student Development and Peace Committee will be conducting a “Think Fast” during Lent for their fellow classmates. This year’s theme focuses on Women at the Heart of Change. They will examine how women are central actors in creating positive change in their communities even though they often face great difficulties because of inequality issues. The “Think Fast” will take place on Thursday March 21st from 3:00-6:00 p.m. This Lenten activity allows participants to reflect on corporal works of mercy which seeks to build a world of justice.
BEST BUDDY LENTEN ACTIVITY
Our Best Buddy Program makes helpful and meaningful contributions to the school community. As the themes of Lent are prayer, fasting and giving, the Best Buddy student helpers will incorporate each of those elements into a Lenten craft activity which they will run every Period 3 on Wednesdays during Lent. The discussion of the details and traditions of Lent in a craft-friendly manner will aid the Life Skills students in their understanding of Lent.
Catholics are called to imitate Christ by spending the 40 days of Lent in spiritual discipline before the celebration of Christ’s triumph over sin and death. In respecting our Catholic tradition to observe abstinence from meat on Fridays during Lent, our school cafeteria will offer meatless meals on Fridays.
GOOD SHEPHERD VENTURE CENTRE
When we give to the poor, we share the good things we have with those in need. Since the Church is asking us to focus on social justice activities during the season of Lent, interested students will volunteer for a school day at the Good Shepherd Venture Centre in Hamilton. We are gratefully accepting donations of non-perishable, canned/packaged food and hygiene products, gently used clothing and small household items at the school. Donations can be placed in the donations box which is located in the gathering space in front of the school chapel.