Apr. 13, 2011
Upcoming Programs
Wrapping Up Lent, Making Ready for Easter

I don't know about you, but Lent seems to be the longest of the Church's liturgical seasons—probably because it's the only season that puts real demands on us. Catholics work hard during Lent (more about "working Lent" in a moment)!

We're helping to "make" new Christians. The "catechumens," called "the elect" after the First Sunday of Lent when these candidates for Baptism were "elected" and approved for the Easter Sacraments, are in their final days of preparation. Parish formation teams for the rite of initiation for adults (the RCIA) are now worrying about Easter liturgies, white robes for Baptism, schedules, practices and so on.

Pastors and worship committees and musicians are readying the complex Church ceremonies for Holy Week. The candidates themselves must be anxiously anticipating this big "life change."

And what about all the rest of us?

Ordinary Catholics, hopefully, have also been walking a Lenten path. They shouldn't be isolated from all the RCIA stuff–after all, the purpose of Lent is to prepare candidates for Baptism. In fact, Lent for all Catholics is meant to be, in part, an act of solidarity with the candidates. But Lent is also about the kind of personal conversion that is the ongoing work of every Christian.

It's ongoing because we Catholics, frankly, don't subscribe to a once-for-all, "I-gave-my-life-to Jesus" kind of conversion. No offense to fellow Christians intended here! Rather, it's a matter of perspective. Even if you committed to Christ as a teenager or were baptized as an adult, doesn't every day offer choices (temptations?) to stray from that commitment? Doesn't every day present new opportunities to reinforce that choice of Jesus as personal savior?

Lent, then, is a time of emphasizing this ongoing process of choosing. From our perspective, that is "work." It's difficult and a desert at times.

But there's also the caveat that all conversion, all Christian life, is "graced." That is, it is all a gift of God. Our Baptism as infants, our upbringing in the Christian life, our adult choices for Jesus, our daily struggle with temptation, the "graced" moments when we see God's love at work–all these are gifts, all are made possible by God's power. Without God, we could not exist, much less walk the Lenten path.

So, yes, Lent seems long, and the conversion road never seems to end. But if we think it's all our doing, abandoning the path will soon seem like a good choice. Let's not forget to let go, and allow God to woo us, entice us along the way, challenge us with choices and–yes–carry us over the rough stretches.

Some journeys never seem to end. But at this stage in Lent, we can see ahead the mount of Calvary, and beyond it, the garden and the tomb. For Christians, the celebrations of Easter in just a few days will offer a wonderful oasis of rebirth!

Father Greg Friedman, O.F.M.
American Catholic Radio: Upcoming Episodes (#11-17 , #11-18)
Use the links below to preview the shows or download them in MP3 format for broadcast.
Highlights from this episode include:

Living Faith
Judy Zarick talks with Melanie Rigney, co-author of When They Come Home. Melanie came back to the Catholic Church after being away for over 30 years and now helps others not only find their way back but help them to stay there.

Ask a Franciscan
Franciscan Father Dan Kroger answers these pastoral questions: 1) What is the meaning behind the different colors of vestments worn at Mass? and 2) Is there a resource that lists the Traditions of the Catholic Faith?

Marriage Moment
Susan Hines-Brigger, assistant managing editor of St. Anthony Messenger, offers her commentary, "The Wedding Band."

Exploring Our Faith
John Feister speaks withi Father Garret Edmunds, O.F.M., who has been a pilgrimage leader for Holy Land Franciscan Pilgrimages since 2008. He also serves as the assistant superior of the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in Washington, D.C. Father Garret spent 20 years as a parish priest before joining the Franciscans in Washington. He explains how pilgrimages to the Holy Land, visiting the sites where Jesus walked, can help connect Catholics to our Holy Week prayers and liturgies.
Highlights from this episode include:

Living Faith
Judy Zarick interviews Susan Vigilante, author of the book Breakfast With the Pope (now titled Reasons for Hope: Daily Readings). Susan relates her difficutly with infertility, the loss of loved ones, the lack of miracles and the hope she was still able to find through her faith and the example of the Holy Father.

Ask a Franciscan
Franciscan Father Don Miller answers these moral questions: 1) Has the Church always taught that human life begins at conception?. 2) What does the Church say about acupuncture treatments? and 3) Did Lucifer and the other fallen angels have free will?

Marriage Moment
Susan Hines-Brigger, assistant managing editor of St. Anthony Messenger, offers her commentary, "The Ups and Downs of Marriage."

Exploring Our Faith
John Feister's guest is speaker and author Father James Martin, S.J., culture editor for the national Catholic magazine America. His latest book is The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything, published by HarperOne. Besides his writings, Father Martin is a popular commentator on religion for National Public Radio, PBS, Comedy Central and the Fox News Channel. He explains the meaning of Pope John Paul II's beatification for the Church.
 
 
Franciscan Radio
Link to audio features Saint of the Day, Sunday Soundbites, and American Catholic Radio.
American Catholic Radio
A weekly half-hour catechetical program, in the popular style of the Franciscans.
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