New guide offers a truly deeper Lent

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COME BACK TO ME is available either in hard copy format or can be downloaded from the Go Make Disciples website.
COME BACK TO ME is available either in hard copy format or can be downloaded from the Go Make Disciples website.

A beautiful and prayerful Lenten Companion has been released by the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney to journey with you through the season of Lent.

Titled COME BACK TO ME: Mercy and Healing Await, the 28-page booklet contains rich devotional reflections and prayers providing an opportunity to prepare for Easter.

A season of repentance and renewal, the companion draws on the simple traditions of the Church while gently guiding the faithful to put time aside each week to reflect on the forty-day liturgical season of fasting, special prayer and almsgiving.

More than 10,000 copies will be distributed throughout the Archdiocese, containing an opening and closing prayer, Gospel reading, guided reflection and thought-provoking questions for each of the five Sundays of Lent, Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday.

Writers include Dr Peter McGregor, Prof. Renée Köhler-Ryan, Fr Greg Morgan Jr, Steven Buhagiar, Helen Wagner, Mother Hilda Scott OSB and Fr James Baxter OP, draw out the themes of conversion and mission.

“Popular online training is also available for anybody interested in organising and leading a Lenten Group.”

Assistant priest of the Parishes of Sydney Harbour North, Fr Noel Custodio, has also written about Lenten observances, detailing the sacrament of Confession and why we should be receiving God’s mercy throughout Lent.

A very popular aspect of the booklet are the beautiful Meditations and Prayers of The Stations of the Cross by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – Pope Benedict XVI.

Popular online training is also available for anybody interested in organising and leading a Lenten Group. Helen Wagner, of the Parish Renewal Team, looks forward to providing this training and said that leading a group is a great way of building up parish communities and meeting new people particularly important for those left feeling isolated and disconnected over the past two years due to COVID.

Parish Renewal Team Manager in the Sydney Centre for Evangelisation, Elizabeth Arblaster, said the Companion provides an opportunity to prayerfully contemplate what is central to spiritual renewal for the individual as well as the parish community.

The new resource offers the timeless tradition of the Church in simple ways while gently guiding the faithful to put time aside for this truly important season of the Church’s year.
The new resource offers the timeless tradition of the Church in simple ways while gently guiding the faithful to put time aside for this truly important season of the Church’s year.

“The Lenten Companion supports individuals and parishes to exercise contemplative listening to the Lord and openness to what He is asking of us to do – as individuals and communities – to grow in discipleship and welcome others into an encounter with the Lord,” she said.

“One of the things I really love about this companion is that the people who have written the reflections in the booklet are, in different ways, part of the Church in Sydney. God has given them a gift to write these moving reflections and they are sharing that with us, to help their fellow-Christians grow in holiness. To see that economy of grace is so beautiful: the way God gives us a gift and asks us to use it to bless others.”

“There is so much richness and goodness in the Church in Sydney to feed us and help us grow in the faith we just have to open ourselves up to it.”

Auxiliary bishop of Sydney Richard Umbers encouraged the faithful to use the Companion to help set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ – to consider His suffering and His sacrifice, His life, death, burial and resurrection.

“Lent is a rich tradition of our Church, a time of prayer, fasting and abstinence and preparation.”

“Please use COME BACK TO ME, Mercy and Healing Await to strengthen your faith and deepen your relationship with God as you prepare your hearts and minds for Good Friday and Easter,” he said.

“Lent is a rich tradition of our Church, a time of prayer, fasting and abstinence and preparation.

“Pope Francis reminds us that “Lent is a favourable time to make room for the Word of God. It is time to switch off the television and open the Bible. It is a time to separate from mobile phones and connect to the Gospel.”

• COME BACK TO ME, Mercy and Healing Await – a free resource – is available in hard copy format from local parishes and can also be downloaded on the Go Make Disciples website.

• To register for training go to the Go Make Disciples events page