lent 2012

Stand firm in the Lord and become a new creation

Each year, Catholics set aside 40 days to "rend our hearts" and "return to God." All of us are given this opportunity to deliberately examine what we are doing well and what we are doing not so well, and we are invited to come back to God.

As we start this journey called Lent, let us take some time to understand where we are in our faith lives and where we would like to go during the season. We invite you to use this page as a guide. It contains many individual and communal opportunities for prayer and reflection that may be of interest to you on your spiritual journey and all people of faith are invited to participate.

Together, let's look forward to receiving a renewed sense of the fire of God's love for us and the forgiveness that is always freely offered to us as we prepare for the Risen Christ Jesus at Easter.

Masses During Lent

Monday, 4:30 PM, Chapel of Saint Michael the Archangel

Monday - Friday, 11:30 AM, Chapel of Saint Michael the Archangel

Sunday, 11:00 AM and 7:00 PM, Chapel of Saint Michael the Archangel

No 7:00 p.m. Mass on March 20 due to student recess

Ash Wednesday
February 10, 11:30 AM and 4:30 PM, Chapel of Saint Michael the Archangel
Please don't forget to pick up your Rice Bowl today!

Palm Sunday Mass 
March 20, 11:00 AM, Chapel of Saint Michael the Archangel
No 7:00 p.m. Mass

Triduum Services

Holy Thursday
March 24, 7:00 PM Chapel of Saint Michael the Archangel

Good Friday
March 25, 7:00 PM, Saint Lawrence Church, Essex Junction

Holy Saturday
March 26, 8:00 PM, Saint Pius X Church, Essex Center

Easter Sunday
March 27, 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM, Chapel of Saint Michael the Archangel
No 7:00 p.m. Mass

Dear Students, Parents, Alumni, and Friends,

This Lent is very special for me for a couple of reasons. I am approaching my 20th anniversary of priesthood in June which invites me to reflect with gratitude on the priestly ministry I share with so many people. Secondly, the pastoral leadership of Pope Francis has been inspiring and reminds me to focus on the essential elements of our faith in living my ministry as a priest. Our Holy Father is calling us back to the basics of the Gospel message which are rooted in the words and deeds of Jesus.

In his letter announcing the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis writes: "The season of Lent during this Jubilee Year should also be lived more intensely as a privileged moment to celebrate and experience God's mercy." Lent is the season in which we take an inventory of our personal and spiritual lives and assess our relationship with God and one another. It is a time of grace and an opportunity for growth. Identifying sins and shortcomings is the necessary first step to receive and celebrate God's mercy.

I think it is all too easy to forget how merciful God truly is. We have dozens of stories of Jesus revealing God to be compassionate and loving. Perhaps we hear the same biblical passages all too often and fail to actually listen to them deeply. Despite our errors and misjudgments, God is always there. Pope Francis has been hammering away at the same message since the first day of his pontificate encouraging us to be joy filled Christians aware of God's merciful love.

In a new book just published in January, Pope Francis gives an interview with a Vatican correspondent who reports the conversation in question and answer format. The Pope shares personal testimony of experiencing God's mercy and how it is truly the foundation of how we should approach God. The Pope says: "Mercy is the first attribute of God. The name of God is mercy." Pope Francis reminds us that mercy is the most important characteristic of God. The Pope continues: "There are no situations we cannot get out of; we are not condemned to sink in quicksand, in which the more we move the deeper we sink. Jesus is there, his hand extended, ready to reach out to us and pull us out of the mud, out of sin...into which we have fallen."

Pope Francis acknowledges God's limitless mercy when he shares: "The most important thing in the life of every man and every woman is not that they should never fall along the way. The important thing is always to get back up, not to stay on the ground licking your wounds. The Lord of mercy always forgives me; he always offers me the possibility of starting over. He loves me for what I am, he wants to raise me up, and he extends his mercy to me."

With such words Pope Francis has called all Christians to live this Lent confident of God's mercy. Knowing how much we are loved and forgiven by God prepares us to joyfully celebrate Christ's resurrection. It is my prayer that all members of our Saint Michael's College community will experience in a profound way the limitless mercy of God revealed in Jesus.

In the weeks before Ash Wednesday, a group of Edmundites, faculty, staff and students considered the readings of the Sundays of Lent and extracted the statement which appears on banners hanging outside on our campus Chapel above the main lobby entrance and facing route 15. This Lent our focus statement is "Stand firm in the Lord and become a new creation." We have also planned a number of devotional activities outlined on our web page and we have again made available a daily blog containing reflections on the scripture readings from the liturgies in Lent and Holy Week accessible at http://smclent.blogspot.com/.

If you are interested in joining us at Saint Anne's Shrine from June 26th to July 1st for a 5-day silent directed retreat to experience God's mercy, please contact me at bcummings@smcvt.edu for more information.

I hope you will join us in prayer this Lenten season as we prepare for the glorious celebration of Easter.


Rev. Brian J. Cummings, S.S.E. ’86
Director of Edmundite Campus Ministry

The Way of the Cross

Friday, March 4, 5:00 PM, Chapel of Saint Michael the Archangel

Were you there in the crowd that Friday? As we pray the Stations of the Cross, please join us as we journey
with Jesus during His passion and experience what it might have been like through the eyes of those who
were there such as James, Judas, the Chief Priest, a soldier, Mary, Mary Magdala and others. This presentation of the Stations of the Cross was inspired by the scriptural way of the cross that was celebrated in Rome by Pope John Paul II on Good Friday each year.

Prayer Opportunities During Lent

Morning Prayer
Monday-Friday, 7:40 AM, Chapel of Saint Michael the Archangel

Eucharistic Adoration
Tuesdays, February 16 and 23; March 1, 8, and 15, 8:00–9:00 PM, Chapel of Saint Michael the Archangel

Rosary for Peace
Mondays, February 15, 22, and 29; March 7 and 14, 5:00 PM, Chapel of Saint Michael the Archangel

Evening prayer in the style of the community of Taizé

Thursday, February 11, 7:00 PM, Back Altar Space of Chapel of Saint Michael the Archangel

Evening prayer is sung in the manner of the Taizé Community, an ecumenical monastic community in France. The community works ecumenically at furthering peace within the human family by engendering reconciliation and healing of divisions among Christians. The Brothers developed a style of prayer consisting of simple meditative chants as well as periods of silence. A candle-lit service lasting about an hour includes quiet chant from both within and outside the Taizé Community, readings from the scripture, sung and spoken prayer, incense, icons, and periods of meditative silence.

Daily Lenten Reflections

Saint Michael’s College students, faculty, staff and members of the worshipping community have come together to offer their reflections on the daily Scripture readings and what they are saying to us in our lives today–how they challenge and encourage us to feel God's presence, love, and forgiveness each day during this sacred time. We hope that these reflections inspire and help you grow deeper in your prayer life during the journey of Lent as we prepare for the Resurrection of Christ Jesus!

The daily Lenten Reflections can be found at: http://smclent.blogspot.com 

Guidelines for Lent

The time of Lent is observed by Catholics as a special season of prayer, penance and works of charity.

Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, in particular, are the most penitential days of the liturgical year. They are days of both fast and abstinence. All Fridays in Lent are days of abstinence.

The rule of fasting states that only one full meal a day can be taken. Two small meals, sufficient to maintain strength, are allowed, but together they should not equal another full meal. The rule of fasting obliges Catholics from age 18-59.

Abstinence refers to the eating of meat. The common estimation of the community is used to determine what falls under the category of meat. Self-imposed fasting on the other weekdays of Lent is recommended. Abstinence on all Fridays of the year is also highly recommended.

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