Lent is an important time for us Christians to prepare our hearts for Christ’s resurrection at Easter.
But for those who are journeying through the Lenten Season alone it can be difficult.
Recognising the need, Somascan Religious Deacon Chris De Sousa CRS and Brother Sheldon Burke CRS put together a program for Sydney’s youth aimed at simplifying Lent and drawing their focus to Christ.
Starting with the importance of pilgrimage, the Somascan Religious and a group of 15 youth gathered in Penrose Park on 17 May to utilise its spiritual setting for reflection and prayer.
“Pilgrimage is a self-imposed exile that is a spiritual journey to more deeply know God’s truth,” said Deacon Chris to the group in Our Lady of Mercy Church.
“Whether it’s to the holy land, a tomb of a saint or a shrine, pilgrimage enables us to patch out our lives.”
The youth, led by the Somascan Religious through the grounds that house more than 40 devotional shrines, reflected upon the lives of the saints as inspiration for living their own Lenten journey.
“Reflection during our Lenten journey keeps us fixed, just as the saints were, on our real homeland which is heaven,” Deacon Chris said.
The pilgrimage, which included Mass, Adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament and prayer, concluded with the recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3pm.
The mission in Sydney included a parish visit to St Francis Xavier in Lurnea where the Somascans participated in the Parish’s Lenten Program and shared the history of their founder with the youth.
Concluding on 20 May, Deacon Chris and Brother Sheldon led a catechesis for more than 30 youth at St Felix de Valois Parish in Bankstown focussing on better understanding what Lent is and how to best take advantage of the season for spiritual growth.
“What most resonated with me about the catechesis was its simplicity,” said Charbel Eltaref, one of the youth from St Felix.
“In a time where everything is so complicated and busy, Deacon Chris and Brother Sheldon really helped us understand the Lenten season by bringing us back to the basics.”
After departing Sydney, the Somascan Religious continued their mission over east in Melbourne where they took part in Rise 2019, a youth event for young people to discover and deepen in Christ and to celebrate their faith, as well as gave talks at ACU and a number of parishes.