‘United in prayer’ for healing

March 12, 2019

Cardinal DiNardo is calling for the faithful in all the parishes in the Archdiocese to unite for an evening of prayer March 15. TCH file photo.

The Way of the Cross: An Evening of Prayer for Healing and Purification of the Church
WHERE:  Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, 1111 St. Joseph Parkway, Houston and all parishes of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
WHEN: 7 p.m. at Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. Stations of the Cross start times may vary at parishes.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact your local parish.

HOUSTON — Daniel Cardinal DiNardo is inviting the faithful and all parishes of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston to “The Way of the Cross: An Evening of Prayer for Healing and Purification of the Church” on the first Friday, March 15, of the Lenten season.

During this special evening of prayer, Cardinal DiNardo will be leading the Stations of the Cross at 7 p.m. in the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. At the same time, all pastors are asked to lead a Stations of the Cross service in their respective parishes so that the entire Archdiocese will pray as one.

“In this time of great sorrow, we look to the Cross of Jesus Christ to bring about transformation and healing in God’s holy Church, particularly for those who have suffered abuse,” Cardinal DiNardo said. “The Stations of the Cross are a time-honored tradition of Lent, and on March 15, all priests and the faithful of Galveston-Houston will be united in prayer.”

Cardinal DiNardo said the public witness of the Church at prayer is powerful, “serving to unite us more closely with the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ, and enabling the Church to begin reparation for the sins of its ministers against God’s most vulnerable ones.”

When united in prayer, “we can extend the reach of God’s mercy to all people in all places,” Cardinal DiNardo said.

Through the Archdiocesan-wide Way of the Cross, Cardinal DiNardo is hoping the evening of prayer will “draw us into closer union with the suffering of Christ on the Cross, and foster a spirit of healing and hope for all of God’s people.”

Entering more deeply into Lent

While some choose to focus on the sacrificial aspects of the Lenten season, such as the traditional custom of giving up things they enjoy for 40 days, the faithful are called to enter into the season with desire to focus on the mystery of redemption.

The season of Lent, which began on Ash Wednesday, March 6, is a penitential time of prayer, fasting, almsgiving and personal sacrifice meant to draw Christians more deeply into the sacred mysteries of the Lord’s passion, death and resurrection.

During the season of Lent, the Church urges the faithful to reflect a spirit of penance in their daily lives through performing acts of faith and abstinence.

The practice of fasting is meant to help the faithful free themselves from the things of this world that diminish the desire to put God first. It is a reminder of one’s dependence on God for all things, including life itself. While some choose to give up or abstain from things that pull them away from their relationship with God and neighbor, others will take on additional spiritual practices. This could include the reading of Scripture, time in adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament, or devoting time to serving those in need.

Almsgiving helps to cultivate a generous spirit. In giving to others, the faithful are encouraged to share the gifts they have been given. Donating food or gently-used clothes or household items, giving money to a charity, or spending time with those who are lonely are simple ways to reach out to others during this season.

The faithful are also encouraged to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation during Lent. While some Catholics view the Sacrament as a burden or something to fear, the Church invites all of the faithful to take time to reflect on their words and actions. In doing so, they are given the opportunity to be reconciled with God and their neighbor and to be able to celebrate the paschal mystery in the Easter Triduum with renewed hearts.

Even the readings at Mass during Lent take on a new focus. Instead of a continual reading of Jesus’ public ministry, the Gospel will recall key passages from the life of Jesus that are important for initiation. The first reading from the Old Testament focuses on major events in salvation history. 

Since ancient times, Lent has always been a period where catechumens, those who were preparing to enter into the Church at the Easter Vigil, were being instructed in the basics of the faith. As such, the readings have been structured to help the history of salvation, the major stories of the Old Testament, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

For the faithful, these readings are a reminder of the core truths of the Christian faith. God made man to be in a relationship with Him, but sin caused man to be separated from God. God sent His son, Jesus, to heal that relationship through His life, death and resurrection, giving us the Church. The response that this grace calls forth from every person is to repent, believe in Jesus, and be baptized.

Though some choose to see Lent as a period of patient suffering, Catholics are reminded to spend this time in preparation for the good news of redemption from sin, that Jesus Christ will ultimately accomplish through the mystery of His passion and death, and then through the Easter celebration on Easter Sunday.