Contemplative Season Heats Up As We Approach Lent

We have a few weeks to go before Ash Wednesday, which in 2023 falls on February 22.  Each year, the Gospel (Matthew 6:1-6, 16-28) for Ash Wedneday includes this counsel from Jesus: “When you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.”

At St. Joseph, we are ramping up opportunities to “go to your inner room.”

On Sunday, Feb. 5 at 10am, we will celebrate a “Contemplative” Eucharist.  Within the liturgy, we will have a Lectio Divina moment, an extended Communion Meditation, and the Mass will be framed by contemplative chants that lend themselves to going deeper in prayer during the service.

The following three evenings, Monday-Wednesday February 6-8, from 5:45pm-6:30pm, we will offer mini-tutorials on three distinct contemplative methods: Lectio Divina, Christian Meditation and Centering Prayer, respectively, on each evening, and then follow the teaching with a 20-minute practice of the form.  As you may already know, the church is open each Monday at 6pm for Lectio Divina, and Tuesday through Friday at 6pm for do-it-yourself contemplative sessions.

On Tuesday, February 28, the next topic in our Contemplative Elders project will be Pope Francis’ 2022 talks on seniors, which was the theme of several of his Wednesday general audience addresses.  Our talk starts at approximately 7:30pm and will be bilingual.

Nearly a dozen parishioners are heading to Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, VA for a silent Trappist retreat March 10-12, 2023.  The strong showing of interest bodes well for future retreats.  We’d like to repeat the experience in Berryville in the fall, and hope to have a guided contemplative elders retreat at Mepkin Abbey in South Carolina in the spring of 2024.


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