By George P. Matysek Jr.
Even though he knows Lent is on the calendar every year, Father T. Austin Murphy Jr. admits that the season has a tendency to “sneak up” on him.
Not this year.
The pastor of Our Lady of Hope in Dundalk and St. Luke in Edgemere is being more intentional about making the most of the 40-day preparation for Easter that begins with Ash Wednesday Feb. 10. Working with parish leaders, he developed a Lenten program to engage parishioners and open new opportunities for prayer, reflection and outreach.
“It’s the Year of Mercy,” Father Murphy said. “We’re trying to be a little more focused about practicing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.”
Each Tuesday during Lent, Our Lady of Hope will offer a 7 p.m. talk by Father Murphy, Father Gregory Rapisarda or Deacon Herman Wilkins on the works of mercy (see below). The talks will be accompanied by opportunities for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The Tuesday series will conclude with a Lenten penance service where the sacrament of reconciliation will be offered March 15.
Throughout the Lenten program, Father Murphy said, practical suggestions will be presented to live out the various works of mercy.
“We’re not supposed to just survive Lent,” Father Murphy said. “We’re supposed to be transformed by it.”
Lenten program at Our Lady of Hope, Dundalk
Feb 16 – Corporal Works of Mercy I – Give Drink to the Thirsty, Shelter the Homeless, Visit the Imprisoned, Clothe the Naked
Feb 23 – Corporal Works of Mercy II – Feed the Hungry, Visit the Sick, Bury the Dead
Mar 1 – Spiritual Works of Mercy I – Instruct the Ignorant, Counsel the Doubtful, Admonish the Sinner, Bear Wrongs Patiently
Mar 8 – Spiritual Works of Mercy II – Forgive Offenses, Comfort the Afflicted, Pray for the Living and the Dead
Mar 15 – Lenten Penance Service