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Lent with the Saints: John Vianney

Daniel 9:4b–10; Psalm 79:8, 9, 11, 13; Luke 6:36–38

Confession of sin is the theme of our First Reading today, as the people of God confess their disobedience to the Lord and seek God’s forgiveness. Conversion and confession remain a powerful lenten theme. Parishes celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation in communal liturgies during this season, and our lenten practices are meant to inspire us in our ongoing conversion.

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Lent with the Saints: Abraham

Year A: Genesis 12:1–4a; Psalm 33:4–5, 18–19, 20, 22;2 Timothy 1:8–10; Matthew 17:1–9
Year B: Genesis 22:1–2, 9a, 10–13, 15–18; Psalm 116:10, 15, 16–17, 18–19; Romans 8:31b–34, Mark 9:2–10

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Lent with the Saints: Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio)

Deuteronomy 26:16–19; Psalm 119:1–2, 4–5, 7–8; Matthew 5:43–48

Padre Pio was spiritual inspiration for the older Italian members of my family. He was for that generation what St. Teresa of Calcutta is to mine. I recall reading stories and seeing photos of Padre Pio in the Italian religious magazines my Nonna received, and hearing from my cousin in Italy of a visit to the saint’s shrine after his canonization.

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Lent with the Saints: Cornelius and Cyprian

Ezekiel 18:21–28; Psalm 130:1–2, 3–4, 5–7a, 7bc–8; Matthew 5:20–26

The church has always been in need of reconciliation. Our human nature means that there will always be a need to forgive each other. Today’s Gospel offers us Jesus’ guidelines for forgiveness in the community.

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Lent with the Saints: Queen Esther

Esther C:12, 14–16, 23–25; Psalm 138:1–2ab, 2cde–3, 7c–8; Matthew 7:7–12

The tale of Queen Esther has all the elements of a great story. We can imagine her, the beautiful bride of a pagan king, ruler of Persia, reigning in a lavish Middle Eastern court. Into this scene of elegance and splendor comes a threat to Esther’s kin—the Jewish people who are exiled in her land. The drama, essential to any good story, develops as the king’s advisor, Haman, is angered by the refusal of Esther’s uncle, Mordecai, to bow down to Haman in the court.

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Lent with the Saints: Jonah

Jonah 3:1–10; Psalm 51:3–4, 12–13, 18–19; Luke 11:29–32

Most of us know the story of Jonah and the whale. But today’s readings give us the rest of the story. Jonah’s mission as a prophet was to deliver a warning from God to the pagan city of Nineveh; his watery adventure was part of his wish to escape that mission.

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