Lenten Opportunities

“Lent is a favorable season for opening the doors to all those in need and recognizing in them the face of Christ." ~ Pope Francis

During Lent, we are asked to devote ourselves to seeking the Lord in prayer and reading Scripture, to service by giving alms, and to sacrifice self-control through fasting. Many know of the tradition of abstaining from meat on Fridays during Lent, but we are also called to practice self-discipline and fast in other ways throughout the season.

Below you will find a variety of resources to help you as you seek the Lord.

The Liturgies of Lent

The St. Francis Xavier (College) Church community  invites you to celebrate these important liturgical celebrations, culminating in the  Sacred Triduum of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  All services are in the church.

Holy Week

March 24   Passion Sunday 5:30 pm
March 25   Passion Sunday 8:00 and 10:30 am and 4:30 pm

The Sacred Triduum

March 29     Holy Thursday 7:30 pm
March 30     Good Friday 3:00 pm
March 31      Easter Vigil 8:00 pm
                    No 5:30 pm Mass
April 1          Easter Sunday 8:00 and 10:30 am
                    No 4:30 or 9:00 pm Masses


Online Resources for Daily Prayer

There are a variety of resources for prayer that can be accessed online.  Some offer a daily reflection focused on the daily mass readings and others follow a theme.  If you would like encouragement during the coming days of Lent, check out one or more of  these resources to support your journey:

  • Sacred Space  - http://www.sacredspace.ie/  (from the Irish Jesuits with a prayer structure connected to one of the daily readings for Mass),
  • Pray-as-you-go— http://pray-as-you-go.org/ (from the British Jesuits is an audio presentation with part of the daily scripture reading, music and reflection questions),
  • Jesuit Prayer— https://jesuitprayer.org/  (this is a collaborative between the Jesuit provinces of the United States that offers the daily scripture, a Jesuit reflection and a prayer for the day.)
  • Daily Inspiration— https://www.loyolapress.com/our-catholic-faith/prayer/daily-inspirations  (offered by Loyola Press, it presents part of the daily scripture and a brief reflection.)
  • Living Lent - Dailyhttps://www.ignatianspirituality.com/26966/lenten-invitation-from-william-barry-sj  (by registering, you will receive a daily email that draw’s on Fr. Barry’s book, A Friendship Like No Other.)
  • Message of the Day  https://www.themessageoftheday.com/en/?promocode=Zenit (presents a video of Pope Francis, with English voice over, that offers an inspirational message.  It requests a monthly contribution to fund the ministry.)


Grab Your Popcorn:  Lent Goes to the Movies

There are many ways to direct our prayer and spiritual life during Lent. A somewhat unconventional aid is cinema. Certain films are excellent resources to deepen the themes of the season. This Lent we will feature two films each week from two well-known cinephiles, our pastor and our provincial Fr. Ron Mercier. Here are their selections for the third week of Lent.

12 Angry Men (1957)  This film focuses on the jury deliberations in a murder case involving at an adolescent man, a Puerto Rican, accused of murder. The jurors, played by an outstanding cast that included Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, and Martin Balsam, have to determine his guilt or innocence.  What seems to be an open-and-shut case gives rise to tense debate among the jurors and reveals much about each of them.  In this Lenten season, as we think of Jesus’ vulnerability and his offer of healing to all, a number of themes for prayer arise:  the cost of discipleship when the call to truth asks one to stand alone, the biases we bring that can obscure the truth even when another’s life is at stake, the memories that need healing. Rated G

Billy Elliott (2000).  Set in Great Britain during the great coal strike of 1984-85.  As his family and friends struggle with the possibility of the loss of the only livelihood they have known, young Billy discovers a love and talent for ballet dancing, something completely alien to all around him.  While Billy is the protagonist, the development of his father echoes the Lenten theme of conversion as he is called to open his heart and his mind to the gift he is given in his son rather than the future he presumed and the biases he assumed.  I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? (Is. 43:19)  Rated R

Babel (2006) An award winning film by the Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu and starring, among others, Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett.  The film ties together slowly but surely four different narratives of people from Japan to Morocco to Mexico to the United States, focusing on how lives are linked in so many ways and how the ‘sin of the world’ touches us all.  In this time of Lent when we can be so focused internally, this film reminds us that the saving work of Jesus is universal and that part of our call during this holy season is to ask that we may share His mission. Rated R

Arrival (2016)  Starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker.  Nominated for Best Picture and Best Director (Denis Villeneuve) in 2017.  The film focuses on the appearance of alien spacecraft on earth and the quest to understand and respond to the event.  Some see this as only threat and want to respond accordingly, but a team of scientists, led by Adams and Renner, seek to find ways to communicate with the alien beings.  They do so risking their lives, but in the hope of fostering peace, not violence.  During these days of Lent, we can pray for the dual gift to choose peace and to find ways to overcome whatever divides us.  Rated PG-13

Selma (2014).  How far will one go in seeking the good?  This historical drama, based on the march for from Selma to Birmingham in 1965, captures the internal struggles in Martin Luther King, his family, colleagues and others.  The constant question in the film is whether to march for freedom in the face of the threat of violence as they cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge.  The willingness to risk all, rooted in faith and in a desire to transform the world for the sake of others, is a very Lenten theme.  As we prepare to walk the Passion with the Lord, where are we called to share in his reconciling and healing work? Rated PG-13


Of Gods and Men (2011)  A French film based on the true story of a Cistercian monastery in Algeria caught up in the civil war between Islamic jihadists and the government. As the danger from both sides threatens both their community and the people around them, they must choose to stay or return to France. This is the movie Jean Vanier mentions in the first chapter of our Lenten book. One of the finest depictions of religious life you will find in a film.  Rated PG-13

Children of Men (2006) – Set in the near future when human beings are unable to have children. Society has begun a long, violent descent into chaos. A miraculous event offers hope at last. This is a thrilling and thoughtful reflection on the effects of despair, and a profound meditation on the power of hope. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it. A visually stunning film directed by Oscar-winner Alfonso Cuaron. Rated R

Groundhog’s Day (199) Lataere Sunday calls us to rejoice. A perfect time to view a brilliant comedy that reminds us of our resistance to change, and the infinite chances we are given to get it right. Bill Murray at his best stars as smarmy newscaster caught in a time loop. Can he finally overcome his pathological selfishness and learn to care about someone else? Yes, you can laugh during Lent. Rated PG

Wall-E (2008)  An animated classic from Pixar productions. Hundreds of years in the future, human have left earth a ruined wasteland. A small robot remains who finds love and friendship. A love story about robots, an homage to silent era films, and a devastating critique of consumer culture; all at the same time. Is this a movie for kids or adults? Both!  Rated G

Babette’s Feast (1989) This Danish film is the personal favorite of Pope Francis. A refugee plans a remarkable feast for her neighbors after an unexpected financial windfall. A fable on food that reveals self-sacrifice and the desire for healing. One’s gift is used to change others, even those who may not feel the need change. A good meditation on Holy Week as we seek to follow the Lord. Rataed G