When I started in parish ministry back in the mid-80s, I always loved being the first to bring in the mail so I could peruse the new and exciting resource catalogues and put my name on any freebies up for grabs. Those were the days!
One of my favourite cookbooks to this day arrived 35 years ago, as a sampler for our Catholic Women’s League, to consider replicating. It is filled with recipes from CWLs in parishes across Canada. I still make the delicious zucchini-coconut bread submitted by St. Casmir’s, Thunder Bay, and a broccoli-cauliflower casserole from St. Maurice’s, Morris, Manitoba.
Another piece of mail I enjoyed receiving was the large package of Lenten calendars which arrived each year from one of our justice partners. The Sundays were always set aside for praying for people around the world facing various kinds of injustice. Monday to Saturday was taken up with actions around the house that raised awareness on so many things we take for granted.
I remember there was always a day set aside when you had to count up all your CDs, putting five cents for each one into the Lenten money jar to be handed over at the end. I had well over 300 and this seemed like a hefty fine for being a music lover! Fridays involved various fasting suggestions and an option to pay your way out to a burger. Another day we were instructed to put 25 cents in for each tap in the apartment. It was a good way to get me to appreciate what I had, pray for others who had not, fast a little here and there and send a little money their way in the end.
This year I have found multiple Lenten calendars and other resources online to guide us through these 40 days of 2021, particularly connected to climate crisis and creation care, and moving us deeper than offering a quarter for each tap.
For example, I just registered for the PWRDF’s Lenten resource, Creation care: climate action. Bishop Jane Alexander (Edmonton) and PWRDF Diocesan Representative Patrick Stephens (Ottawa), will lead us through the 40 days with stories about PWRDF and prayers for the earth.
One of our Climate Justice Niagara steering committee members is Lowell Bliss, from St. James and St. Brendan, Port Colborne. He is also part of a group called, Climate Caretakers, committed to mobilizing Christians to learn about, pray about, and act on climate change. Their Lenten materials for a Carbon Fast are so rich and could lead you well into Easter. Find them at: climatecaretakers.org/lenten-carbon-fast
Finally, the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Water Network has launched a monthly newsletter, Together for Water, for anyone who sees access to water as a human right. You can learn more: water.oikoumene.org
Let justice roll like a river, and may our Lenten prayer, fasting, and almsgiving bring about tangible results like drinkable water running from every tap in First Nations communities in Ontario, Canada, and beyond. And so be it.