A group of parishioners from Immaculate Conception Parish in Jefferson City have created “A Season of Hope,” an online Lenten resource focused on care for creation.
Weekly topics include the Lenten pillars of praying, fasting and almsgiving, along with conversion, communion, and entering a new relationship with God’s creation.
“This program references the Sunday readings while exploring the issues of climate change: our awareness of the gift of creation and our response to it as people of God,” stated I.C. parishioner Jim Kemna, the program’s coordinator.
People are encouraged either to participate in the program individually and engage with others through social media, or form a group to meet and explore together, using this online program as a guide.
Each week’s session includes a Scripture passage from that week’s Sunday readings; a teaching on respect for creation; questions for reflection; online links for further reading; a Lenten challenge for the week; suggestions for journaling and discussion; and a prayer to be prayed each day of the week.
Facebook users are encouraged to engage with each other on the IC Season of Hope page through meaningful questions, comments, ideas and feedback on the challenges and action steps.
Mr. Kemna said care for creation has become a very personal topic for him.
“I was motivated to do something about the environment and climate change when I began to consider what kind of world my 5-year-old granddaughter would live in,” he said.
He also stopped to consider the poorest people around the world who are already experiencing the harsh effects of climate change while having done very little to cause it.
“Pope Francis has challenged all believers to listen to the cry of the poor and to the silent cry of the earth,” said Mr. Kemna.
He believes one of the most helpful things people can do about the issue is to bring it up in conversation and help more people become aware of it.
“This program can get the conversation and the conversion going,” said Mr. Kemna. “What better time than Lent to challenge ourselves to give up some bad habits that might be harming God’s creation?”