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Prepare for Lent with 2024 companion

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The Lenten Companion 2024. Photo: Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney
The Lenten Companion 2024. Photo: Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney

Like many great works, it started with a simple “yes.”

Quyen Phan, from Sacred Heart parish in Cabramatta, took up the call last year to lead a small prayer group using the Parish Renewal Team’s Lenten Companion.

“I had been working at the Sacred Heart Parish office since November 2021. Before Lent started last year, I asked Fr Remy for his permission to have a trial to run, and allow me to lead a prayer group,” Quyen said.

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“Instead of one group, I volunteered for two sessions every week: one after Mass on Tuesday evenings, and another after Mass on Wednesday mornings.

“In the beginning, I used the Lenten Companion 2022 as a guide. I translated the prayers, questions, and reflections into Vietnamese. The Scripture verses, I copied from the Vietnamese Holy Scriptures.”

Then after Easter, Quyen asked her priest if she could continue leading the groups until Pentecost. She used the Gospel passages of the coming Sunday to guide their prayer, and the participants shared about how they might put those words into practice.

Quyen has now been leading the prayer groups, consisting of about 20 participants, for more than 18 months. The participants also had a retreat day in October.

What began as a simple inspiration in the heart of one person, developed into a source of life and growth for a parish community. With the use of a simple parish resource, and with no prior experience, Quyen has helped members of her parish to faithfully and regularly meet together to pray with Scripture, and to prepare well for Mass each Sunday.

13,000 copies of the 2024 Lenten Companion, “REPENT AND BELIEVE: Be Filled with the Love of God,” have been sent out to parishes across the Archdiocese of Sydney.

Contributors this year include Mark Lysaght, Sr Maliya Suen RSM, Dr Kevin Wagner, Hazel Lim, Fr Sam Lynch, Fr Richard Sofatzis and Catholic Weekly journalist Marilyn Rodrigues, with a special reflection on the practice of Almsgiving by Fr Robin Koning SJ.

The simple, yet beautiful resource, contains opening and closing prayers, Gospel passages, guided reflections, and thought-provoking questions for each of the five Sundays of Lent, Palm Sunday, and Easter Sunday.

The resource is designed for individuals or parish groups. It may also be used by small groups of family or friends who would like to journey through Lent together.

If you are inspired by the example of Quyen, and would like to invite others to pray with you but would benefit from some support, join one of the Parish Renewal workshops on “How to Lead Others in Prayer.”

• ‘REPENT AND BELIEVE: Be Filled with the Love of God’– a free resource – is available in hard copy format from local parishes of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney and can also be downloaded on the Go Make Disciples website.

• To register for workshops on how to lead others in prayer, go to the Go Make Disciples events page.

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