Following Christ: Parishes to host Lenten missions

January 23, 2018

A family lights vigil candles during Easter Vigil Mass at Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church in 2017.
Across the Archdiocese, parishes like Christ the Redeemer are hosting Lenten missions. File photo by James Ramos/Herald.

HOUSTON — Parishes around the Archdiocese will offer the faithful numerous opportunities to grow in faith as the Church enters the season of Lent, which begins with Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14. 

Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church in northwest Houston will begin the Lenten journey together this year with a parish mission, Feb. 19, 20 and 21. The theme of the mission, “Responding to the Spirit: In the Soul, In the Church and In the World” invites parishioners and the Catholic community to be led and directed by the Holy Spirit. The three days of spiritual renewal will focus on forming missionary disciples according to Pope Francis’ “Joy of the Gospel” and all are welcome. 

Other parishes, like the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart are also holding Lenten missions. Deacons Eddie Ensley and Robert Hermann of Savannah Diocese will preach at English Masses on Jan. 27 and Jan. 28, and present the pre-Lenten mission on Jan. 29 to Jan. 31 in the church on handling pressures of daily life, coping with life’s losses and God’s forgiveness. For more information, call 713-659-1561 or visit

Lenten missions also reflect the diversity of the Archdiocese. St. Laurence Catholic Church in Sugar Land will hold its annual Vietnamese Lenten Retreat in the parish hall on Feb. 24 at 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. followed by 5 p.m. Mass, with guest speakers Father Trân Khã and Father Nguyen Truong Son. For more information call, 281-330-0565.

At Prince of Peace, Father Bruce Nieli, CSP, a Paulist missionary priest will direct serve direct the mission. Father Nieli, an experienced, dynamic preacher and teacher, has been active in evangelization proclaiming the Good News of Christ and in ministry during some of America’s most trying crises. He said he is ready to share about responding to the spirit.
“Responding to the spirit is how we deepen our commitment as Catholic Christians to follow Jesus Christ as missionary disciples and spirit-filled evangelizers according to Pope Francis’ ‘Joy of the Gospel,’” he said.

The former director of Evangelization for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, he was invited and commissioned by Pope Francis as a Missionary of Mercy in 2016. Father Nieli has a great love for people and said he looks forward to sharing his ministry with the parish community at Christ the Redeemer.

“The parish is the family of families, the domestic Church of the home,” Father Nieli said. “For example, in Acts 2:46-47, they met in homes breaking bread together. We have to work together as family to bring about change. Families helping families is the core of the parish.”

Each day of the Lent Parish Mission will include morning and evening sessions. The morning session includes continental breakfast and the evening includes a community meal, followed by the evening session in the church.
“Lent is an important season for spiritual renewal because in Lent we journey with one another following Christ in our deepest humanity,” he said. “We focus on being more like Christ.”

“We want people to know they will be missed if we don’t see them at the mission,” said Mike Jones, mission core team member and parishioner at Christ the Redeemer. For more information, visit

In his 2017 Lenten message, Pope Francis said “Lent is the favorable season for renewing our encounter with Christ, living in his word, in the sacraments and in our neighbor. May the Holy Spirit lead us on a true journey of conversion, so that we can rediscover the gift of God’s word, be purified of the sin that blinds us, and serve Christ present in our brothers and sisters in need.”

The pope encouraged the faithful to join others in spiritual renewal “by sharing in the Lenten Campaigns promoted by many Church organizations in different parts of the world, and thus to favor the culture of encounter in our one human family.”

Contact a local parish for information about the parish’s Lenten renewal efforts, or visit