National Catholic Reporter

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Lent

Poetry provides spiritual nourishment in these sparest days of Lent

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The statues and crucifixes in our churches this week will be draped with purple sheets. The sparest days of Lent, the church's annual retreat, are upon us.

The sight of these hooded saints feels appropriate to me this year, for rather than giving up some material attachment during Lent, I've tried to let go of some of the old images that have attached themselves, in my mind, to God.

Loretto peace calendar posted for Lent

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My community, Loretto, has posted a Lenten calendar. What I like best about it is that all the daily quotes are by Loretto members.  

Additionally, on Fridays there’s a letter that can be sent to an elected official. This week’s suggestion is to forward the War Resisters federal budget pie chart to your congressional representative. Last Friday was an inquiry about whether your police force had received Pentagon equipment.

Carmelite draws from life of Elijah for pope, Curia's Lenten retreat

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The Lenten journey of conversion requires Christians to rediscover the "deepest truth" about themselves, cast off their masks and take on the courage to live truth, a prominent Carmelite priest told the pope and Vatican officials.

In the first days of Lenten spiritual exercises for the Roman Curia, the church's central administration, Carmelite Fr. Bruno Secondin drew from the life of the prophet Elijah to invite Vatican officials to reflect on whether their hearts "really belong to the Lord" or whether they rely on external gestures.

Pope: Don't let meatless Fridays be selfish and soulless, a seafood splurge

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Real fasting isn't just restricting food choices. It must also include cleansing the heart of all selfishness and making room in one's life for those in need and those who have sinned and need healing, Pope Francis said.

Faith without concrete acts of charity is not only hypocritical, "it is dead. What good is it?" he asked, criticizing those who hide behind a veil of piety while unjustly treating others, such as denying workers fair wages, a pension and health care.

Patriarchs' Lenten messages focus on struggles of Middle East Christians

The Middle East is suffering a "Way of the Cross" that is the greatest tragedy since World War II, Melkite Catholic Patriarch Gregoire III Laham said in a Lenten message about suffering.

He said the church, despite its efforts, is having difficulty meeting the growing needs it faces in the region.

"We fail in front of the suffering of our people in all walks of life, Christians and Muslims. It's a universal suffering," he said.

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In This Issue

January 29-February 11, 2016

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