Lent

 

The liturgical season of Lent is a time of abstinence, prayer, and personal reflection in preparation for Easter. The 40 day period of Lent (which does not include Sundays) is symbolic of the 40 days and nights that Jesus spent praying and fasting in the desert before starting his ministry.

 

Lent is one of the oldest observations on the Christian calendar. Although there’s evidence of some kind of Lenten preparation for Easter in the early days of the Church, Lent becomes more regularized after the legalization of Christianity by the Roman emperor Constantine in the early 4th century.

Like all Christian holy days and holidays, Lent has changed over the years, but its purpose has always been the same – the preparation of the believer for Easter through prayer, doing penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement, and self denial.

lentpalm This year, in the Ukrainian Catholic faith, the season of Lent began on Monday, February 27 and continues until Easter, which for 2017 is on Sunday on April 16.

 

To keep the school’s approach to Lent vibrant and interesting, a new and different Lenten theme is selected every year. This year, the school’s Lenten planners were the  grade 4-8 classroom teachers (The “Lenten Ladies League”) who choose the theme “A Path to the Cross”.

yellowcross

This theme emphasizes classical Lenten values and a return to basics. For example, during the 40 days of Lent, the students will learn more about the Stations of the Cross and what they mean. In addition, both students and staff will recite “The Prayer of St. Ephrem” every morning during opening exercises. According to Wikipedia, the Prayer of St. Ephram “is considered to be the most succinct summation of the spirit of Great Lent and is hence the Lenten prayer par excellence, prayed during all Lenten weekday services”.

 

“The Prayer of St. Ephram” is recited every morning during opening exercises by both students and staff during the season of Lent.

 

Every year, the students of IHMS observe the season of Lent with a different Christian service project. For this year’s project, the school’s social justice team (SMAC) will be raising money for a youth drop in centre in St. Vital called Teen Stop Jeunesse. Established in 1985, Teen Stop Jeunesse is a private, non profit, charitable organization that operates as a community drop in centre for youth from the ages of 8-18. They offer various programs in a safe atmosphere so local youths can hang out and participate in a variety of different programs.

 

This year’s Lenten Christian service project for IHMS was raising money to help support a youth drop in centre called Teen Stop Jeunesse, located at 533 St Anne’s Rd. in Winnipeg

 

In addition to the classroom lessons that students from each grade receive during Lent as a part of their Religion program, there’s usually some type of larger activity that involves the entire school. This year, a Lenten Prayer Service, planned by the LLL took place in the school gym on Thursday, March 9.

 

The entire school gathered in the IHMS gym on Thursday, March 9 to participated in a Lenten Prayer Service. The Stations of the Cross were read by grade 4-8 students, pictured above. To view the above students in a larger format, click here.

 

On that morning, immediately after opening exercises, the entire school gathered in the gym for a Stations of the Cross prayer service. Each of the 14 stations (and one extra station for the Resurrection of Jesus) were represented by a pair of students. One student recited information about the station, while the other student suggested how we could learn from this and apply it to out daily lives. The entire program took about 40 minutes, and ended with a short video song. A second Lenten “Palm Sunday” Prayer Service will be held after the March break on Friday, April 5 at 2:15 p.m.

 

 
 
 A few photos of the March 9 Lenten Service held in the school gym

 

The liturgical season of Lent is an important part of school life at IHMS. Focusing on people less fortunate than ourselves helps us to prepare for Easter. It gives us the opportunity to improve ourselves and become more aware of our relationship with God. This is what Lent is all about – it helps us to become better people.

Lent helps us become better people