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CELEBRATING THE SEASON - LENT

Length 12 min.
Age Group I - Intermediate
Publisher St. Anthony Messenger Press
Topics Special Seasons
Spirituality


This video explores customs, traditions, prayers and ways we can keep Lent as we walk together on the path to Jerusalem, preparing for the new life of Easter. It invites us to Fast, Do Good Works, and Remember the way Jesus lived his life.

Featured Events

Catholic News Headlines

  • IMAGE: CNS photo/Jasen Vinlove, USA TODAY Sports via ReutersBy Tom TracyMIAMI (CNS) -- South Florida's Cuban-American Catholic community and other Miami Marlins baseball fans planned to honor Jose Fernandez with prayers at the Cuban shrine and a public parade Sept. 28, a day before his private funeral. Fernandez, a pitcher and popular Cuban-American member of the Marlins team, died Sept. 25 following a tragic boating accident that also took the lives of two of his companions. They were on a late-night outing when their craft struck a jetty near Miami Beach. With fans set to gather at the West Plaza at Marlins Park, organizers said the Sept. 28 procession would depart at 2:16 p.m. local time -- "16" was Fernandez's uniform number -- and then move on to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Charity near Miami's Biscayne Bay and not far from the accident. The procession was then to proceed to St. Brendan Catholic Church in Miami where a public visitation was scheduled for 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. A private funeral for Fernandez was to be held Sept. 29. Father Juan Rumin Dominguez, rector of Our Lady of Charity shrine, described Fernandez as "the young face of the Cuban diaspora." "This is a young man who is a source of pride for us Cubans, an example for our community and especially for Cuban young people," said Father Dominguez. "He was able to reach the highest goals. That's why he's an example to our Cuban young people," the priest said. "He demonstrated that with dedication and effort, you can achieve the highest goals in this country." Other clergy throughout the region reportedly referred to the tragedy in their homilies and offered prayers for Fernandez Sept. 25. Fernandez, 24, and two other men were killed early that Sunday when his 32-foot SeaVee boat slammed into a rock jetty that extends off the southern tip of Miami Beach. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission continues to investigate the crash. The Miami-Dade County medical examiner has not yet released toxicology results. Fans established a makeshift memorial on the plaza outside the ballpark entrance, leaving dozens of flower arrangements -- daisies, carnations, roses and lilies, the result as colorful as Fernandez's personality. There also were candles, and messages scrawled on balls, balloons, photos and jerseys. A spokeswoman for American Social Bar & Restaurant in Miami reportedly confirmed Sept. 27 to news media that Fernandez was a patron at the establishment before the crash. The bar is along the Miami River and allows boats to dock alongside. Emilio Macias, 27, and Eduardo Rivero, 25, also died in the accident. Since the tragedy, the Marlins have been grieving while also returning to playing games. In evening game Sept. 26, they defeated the Mets in an emotional and tearful game. "I think the routine of the game is really good for you," manager Don Mattingly said in a news release posted on the Marlins website. "You've been doing this almost the whole season. Yeah, we feel it's almost like autopilot, fielding ground balls, take at-bats. It's almost mindless. So it does good to be on the field. It feels good to prepare for a game." - - - Contributing to this story was Ana Rodriguez-Soto.- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS photo/Abir Sultan, EPBy Judith SudilovskyJERUSALEM (CNS) -- One of the last ceremonies in which former Israeli President Shimon Peres participated as a public figure took place in the Vatican Gardens in June 2014, the last month of his presidency. Along with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, he planted an olive tree at the invitation of Pope Francis. The evening of peace prayers and the tree planting had been initiated by the pope following his pilgrimage a month earlier to the Holy Land, where he met with both men, and just weeks after American-sponsored peace talks had foundered. At the meeting, Peres, who died Sept. 28 at 93, called the act of making peace a "holy mission." "I was young. Now I am old," media reports quoted him as saying after the ceremony. "I experienced war. I tasted peace. Never will I forget the bereaved families -- parents and children -- who paid the cost of war. And all my life I shall never stop to act for peace, for generations to come. Let's all of us join hands and make it happen." At the Vatican Sept. 28, Pope Francis said Peres' death renewed his "great appreciation for the late president's tireless efforts in favor of peace. As the state of Israel mourns Mr. Peres, I hope that his memory and many years of service will inspire us all to work with ever greater urgency for peace and reconciliation between peoples." Early in his political career, Peres was known as a military hawk, who, unlike his colleagues in the left-leaning Labor Party, supported the establishment of settlements in the West Bank. By the second half of his career in public life, in the early 1980s, he became a staunch proponent of territorial compromise and the peace process. Peres dedicated himself to the work of achieving peace during the last years of his life, largely through the Peres Center for Peace in Tel Aviv, which he founded in 1996, and other initiatives. He also became an advocate for responsible use of the earth's resources. Two months after leaving office as Israel's ninth president, Peres again met with Pope Francis. He initiated the meeting to propose that the pontiff head a parallel United Nations called the "United Religions" to counter religious extremism in the world. At the time, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, then-Vatican spokesman, said the pope had listened to Peres' idea during the unusually long 45-minute meeting, "showing his interest, his attention and encouragement," reflecting the pope's "esteem and appreciation" for the nonagenarian. The pope did not commit to the proposal. Associated with the secular left of Israel throughout his life, Peres later counseled in the meeting with the pope not to underestimate "the power of the human spirit," and he emphasized the important role prayer can have in peacemaking. "We must not become cynical," he was quoted as saying afterward. "The human being is much more than being made up of just flesh and blood." Born in Poland in 1923 in an area that is now Belarus, Peres was the son of a successful timber merchant and a librarian. He lived in the religiously observant home of his grandfather, a prominent rabbi who taught him the Talmud, a collection of writings that constitute Jewish civil and religious law. Later, as a political leader in Israel, he opposed ultra-Orthodox religious extremism and called on Israelis to defend the democratic character of the country. With the rise of the Nazis in Germany, in 1934 Peres' family traveled in 1934 to Palestine, which was then under the rule of the British Mandate. Peres grew up in Tel Aviv and, as a young man, he helped found Kibbutz Alumot, one of many communal agricultural villages founded by Jewish pioneers. All of his relatives who did not leave Europe were killed in the Holocaust. In his address at the German Bundestag Jan. 27, 2010 -- International Holocaust Remembrance Day -- Peres recalled how the Jews from his village, including his grandfather, Rabbi Zvi Melzter, were herded into the synagogue and burned alive by Nazis forces. Peres' involvement in the political and defense capabilities of Israel spanned six decades. After being elected to the Knesset in 1959, he served continuously except for a three month break in 2006 and 2007 until he assumed the presidency. He also served in several ministerial positions, including two nonconsecutive terms as prime minister. As foreign minister, he initiated negotiations with the Palestinians, which led to the signing of the Oslo Accords with the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1993. Peres, former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, who later became president of the Palestinian Authority, received the Noble Peace Prize for negotiating the agreement. Soon thereafter, Peres oversaw the negotiations with the Vatican that resulted in the signing of a Fundamental Agreement with the Holy See Dec. 30, 1993, and led to the opening of diplomatic relations between the two entities. "President Peres was a man of political dialogue and also interreligious dialogue," said Auxiliary Bishop William Shomali of Jerusalem. "I remember every time we went to attend the official New Year reception, he spoke about the importance of dialogue between people of faith. He really believed in that." Because of Peres' belief in the power of people of faith, Pope Francis invited Peres to plant the olive tree in the Vatican Gardens, Bishop Shomali told Catholic News Service. "It was an interreligious ceremony with prayers for peace and he will be remembered for this encounter in Rome," he said. In Israel, Peres was beloved and disliked for the peace negotiations, with some observers labeling him a traitor. The same held true within the Catholic community, which is part of the Israel's Arab society, said Wadie Abunassar, a Catholic political analyst. "Some people love him but others called him a fox because, in reality, he did not achieve a good agreement with the (Palestinians)," Abunassar said. "But some people remember him as a good man who achieved the Oslo peace agreements and who was a bitter enemy of the extreme right." - - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS photo/Abdalrhman Ismail, ReutersBy Cindy WoodenVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- As a brief cease-fire agreement failed and Syrian government forces returned to bombing Aleppo and fighting rebels in the city streets, Pope Francis made a forceful appeal for assistance for the thousands of innocent civilians trapped in the besieged city. "I appeal to the consciences of those responsible for the bombardments," Pope Francis said at the end of his weekly general audience Sept. 28. "They will have to account to God!" Dozens of civilians were reportedly killed by the bombardments in late September and the U.N. World Food Program said it was "extremely concerned about the more than 250,000 people trapped in eastern Aleppo city who are cut off from food, water, medicine and other essential supplies." Pope Francis told people gathered for his general audience that his thoughts and prayers were going "to the beloved and martyred Syria. I continue to receive dramatic news about the fate of Aleppo's population." Expressing his "profound pain and deep concern for what is happening in this already martyred city," the pope told people that it is a place where death strikes "children, the elderly, the sick, young people, old people, everyone." "I renew my appeal that everyone make a commitment with all their strength to the protection of civilians as a mandatory and urgent obligation," the pope said. Pope Francis spoke as representatives of dozens of Catholic charitable organizations and leaders of Catholic communities in Syria and Iraq were arriving in Rome for a Sept. 29 meeting to coordinate Catholic emergency and humanitarian assistance to the victims of war, displaced people and refugees in the region. Msgr. Giampietro Dal Toso from the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, which coordinates Catholic charitable giving, said the Catholic Church and Catholic charities have 12,000 workers trying to provide care for people in Syria, Iraq and neighboring countries. "Just in Syria the victims of the war, according to U.N. data, already exceed 270,000," he said. More than 8.7 million Syrians have been forced from their homes and some 3.4 million Iraqis are still displaced.- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: CNS photo/Dave Hrbacek, The Catholic SpiritBy Jessica TrygstadST. PAUL, Minn. (CNS) -- An estimated 12,000 students, teachers and staff of Catholic schools filled a baseball park in downtown St. Paul Sept. 22 for the first all-school Mass of the Holy Spirit in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda and Auxiliary Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens and more than 60 priests concelebrated the Mass for fourth- through eighth-grade students from the archdiocese's 79 Catholic grade schools after a performance from the local band Sonar. In his homily, Archbishop Hebda told the crowd filling the stadium seats and spread across CHS Field -- where the St. Paul Saints baseball team plays -- that the Holy Spirit is what makes Catholic schools great. And, in turn, students must ask the Holy Spirit to help them reach greatness. "I am so happy that we have that opportunity at the beginning of this school year to pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit," Archbishop Hebda said. "Certainly, on all of you -- our wonderful students, certainly on our teachers, certainly on those students who weren't able to be here this morning, certainly on all those wonderful parishioners who support our Catholic schools. "But we understand that we need the Holy Spirit if we are going to be great," he continued. "And all that we need to do is to ask for the Holy Spirit. That's how great is our God's love, that all we have to do is to ask." Referencing the Gospel reading, Archbishop Hebda noted how the apostles were changed once they received the Holy Spirit. "My hope, that of Bishop Cozzens, that of all of these priests and deacons, that of all of your parents, and parishioners, is that as we ask for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit this day that we become men and women who are bold and brave in proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ," the archbishop said, "that we're able to share the good news that we have a God who loves us without end, a God who forgives us when we sin, a God who gives us second chances, third chances, a God who calls us to greatness." Telling students they have the benefit of a good Catholic education, Archbishop Hebda said he hopes they'll be great sons and daughters of God who'll go on to be great parents, husbands and wives, doctors, lawyers, teachers, even second basemen. "We don't know what it is that God has in store for you, but that you're going to be able to do it with greatness because you know Jesus Christ, and you have received the Holy Spirit that he desires to place in our hearts." Students from different schools read the prayers of the faithful and assisted priests during Communion. The Catholic Schools Center of Excellence, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit, sponsored the Mass. The organization's president, Gail Dorn, said the event took nine months of planning, 220 buses, and a lot of security and communication with the schools. "We're just so happy that we're able to have this community of faith and be able to celebrate with one another," said Dorn, adding that they'd like to make the Mass of the Holy Spirit an annual event. "It was a holy day. And it was a healing for our students and for our schools," she told The Catholic Spirit, the archdiocesan newspaper. "It's very powerful to worship together. I think it was very nourishing for our students to strengthen them in their faith and their belief, not just in our holy Eucharist and celebration of our faith, but also the community of our schools and our belief that they should be stronger and better." Bishop Cozzens, who is archdiocesan vicar of education and a board member of Catholic Schools Center of Excellence, said after the Mass that it was a great opportunity to get all the students together to help them see that they're part of something bigger. Masses of the Holy Spirit date back to the Jesuits in the 16th century. Noting the church celebrates the start of important events, such as papal conclaves, with a Mass of the Holy Spirit, Bishop Cozzens said the day highlighted the "treasure" of a Catholic education. Thankful the weather cooperated for the event, Bishop Cozzens said he most enjoyed seeing students' joy and love for Jesus as they came forward to receive Communion. The all-school Mass was a visible sign for teachers, too, that they're part of something bigger. Kathy McRae, a seventh-grade religion and English teacher at Nativity of Our Lord School in St. Paul, has taught for 29 years, called the Mass "an incredible experience." Nativity eighth-grader Chip Knap, who will be confirmed this year, said the archbishop's message was meaningful. "It was the best Mass I've ever been at," he said. "I really liked the energy of it." - - - Trygstad is assistant editor of The Catholic Spirit, newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.- - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.

  • IMAGE: NS photo/L'Osservatore Romano handout via EPABy Carol GlatzVATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Don't respond to grief or anguish with pills, alcohol or avoidance, Pope Francis said in a morning homily. Figure out what is going on inside your heart, then turn to God and beg him for help, he said Sept. 27 during an early morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae. Reflecting on the day's readings, the pope looked at the "spiritual desolation" experience by Job and the responsorial psalm, "Let my prayer come before you, Lord." Job lost everything and felt utterly abandoned and unfairly tormented, the pope said. He unleashed his desperate cries to God, venting all of his feelings of hopeless despair and regret, and yet, he never blasphemed or cursed God in his ranting, he said. Everyone has experienced some degree of despair that "makes us feel as if our soul were crushed," unable to breathe and perhaps even eager for death, the pope said. "We have to understand when our spirit is in this state of extended sadness, where there is almost no air. This happens to all of us" to some degree, he said. Some people might "take a sleeping pill," avoid facing the situation or "have two, three, four shots" of something strong to drink; but that "doesn't help," he said. So then what should people do when they go through "these dark moments because of a family tragedy, an illness, something that brings me down?" he asked. In times of hopeless, spiritual despair, he said, the answer is to pray hard, just like Job, who cried out day and night for God to listen. He said Psalm 88 and its response -- "Let my prayer come before you, Lord" -- "is a prayer of knocking at (God's) door, but hard. 'Lord my soul is surfeited with troubles and my life draws near to the nether world. I am numbered with those who go down into the pit; I am a man without strength.'" This is praying with genuine candor and honesty, he said, because it is the way a child pours out his emotions to his father. And this is how "we must pray in the most terrible, darkest, most desolate, crushing moments." When someone is hurting and trapped in this spiritual despair, he said, the best thing to do is "talk as little as possible" because in these cases speeches "ultimately do not help and they can cause harm, too." A person can help with loving silence, "being close, a caress and prayers to the father." The pope asked that people pray for the grace to recognize and reflect upon the reasons for their despair, the grace to pray fervently to the Lord in times of trouble, and the grace to know how to best accompany those who are suffering, sad and despairing.  - - -Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. www.catholicnews.com. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at cns@catholicnews.com.