Resources for Lent 2016

It’s hard to believe that Lent is upon us so quickly this year. Next year, Ash Wednesday will be nearly three weeks later – March 1, 2017! How will you Fast, Pray & Give this year.

Here’s a few resources I’m looking at this year:

USCCB – “Lent 2016: 40 Days of Mercy

Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl – I especially like their weekly, meatless recipes from around the world. Hopefully they will again have videos of Fr. Leo demonstrating each one.

Loyola Press Lenten Resources especially their Online Lenten Retreats & Prayers

Creighton University On-Line Ministries: Praying Lent – I highly recommend this audio retreat presented by the wise Fr. Larry Gillick, S.J.

Other Jesuit Lenten resources can be found at Thinking Faith and the audio-focused Pray As You Go – both from the U.K.

Bishop Robert Barron’s Word on Fire Lenten Resources  (includes a link to sign up for his daily Lenten reflection emails.)

As of today (Monday), Busted Halo hasn’t posted their popular Lent calendar yet. They have a few Lenten themed articles as well as this excellent Ash Wednesday in Two Minutes video:

Last year for both Lent and Advent I found the resources offered by the Society of St. John the Evangelist to be faith and thought provoking.  This year’s theme, which encompasses daily videos, emails and a workbook is entitled: Growing a Rule of Life. It begins with this introductory video by one of the wise brothers:

And it even has a component for use with youth.

In light of Pope Francis’ groundbreaking celebration of God’s Creation, “Laudato Si” how about connecting your Lenten fasting to activities which care for creation. A number of faith organizations offer Lenten calendars with suggestions for each day:

Sisters of St. Joseph Carbon Fast

Michigan Interfaith Power & Light

Carbon Fast – Anglican Communion

St. Francis Cabrini Community

More extensive “carbon fast” programs, including daily emails and message boards, are offered by MACUCC and EcoChurch Southwest (U.K.)

Shifting gears to focus on apps, Give Us This Day is offering a free trial of their app featuring the day’s morning & evening prayers as well as the daily mass.

Finally, props to a great blog site – Catholic Apptitude and their listing of apps and related resources for Lent.




Lectionary Gospel – Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time – January 31, 2016


Google Slides

New Addition — Last week I offered a post which gave a list of sites at which to download beautiful wallpaper. One of the sites I featured is by Loyola Press. Each week (or in advance) you can download a great image combined with an except from one of the liturgical Scripture readings from Sunday mass. Here’s this week’s:

1_Loyola Wallpaper_1st Week of FebDisclaimer – Since I don’t seek to profit from these files, I don’t cite the source for each of the images found through a Google Search

250th Post! Visual Beauty for Your Device

I missed getting a Sun(Fun)day post out yesterday. Turns out that there are only so many hours in the day and yesterday they passed by way too quickly.

So, it’s Monday, sunny here in Ohio, we’re on the 250th post at this blog and it’s a good day for celebrating the miracle that is our eyes!

If you’re like me, you change your device’s wallpaper or background image frequently. I like to enjoy that moment of beauty before I get to whatever app or task I’m seeking.

So, for your viewing pleasure here’s a few of my favorite sites for downloading beautiful images and a recent example of each.

Perhaps you’ve already discovered the Bing Wallpaper Gallery. As a search engine, Microsoft’s Bing takes a lot of flack. But as a source for daily, seasonally themed, blow-your-mind images it’s the best. It also has a highly searchable archive to find any type of image perfectly sized to fit your desktop/homescreen:

Photo Bing

So after I stop at Bing’s site, I go over to my next favorite site for daily images as well as great, daily prayer resources. Hosted my the Jesuits of the Midwest Province, the location of the site is Each day they offer a gripping image paired with a quote related to the liturgical reading and related reflection for the day. There’s also an iOS app available. The images aren’t always in the highest definition, so sometimes they are a bit fuzzy on my iPad lock screen. Still, the reflections included are worth pausing on for a moment before unlocking and moving forward.

Photo Jesuit

The last site is one that I just discovered the other day. I’ve known about the Three Minute Retreat site and app for a while. I get their daily email and for the first time I looked closely at the links within it. Not only is there one to Loyola PressLenten Resources, but there’s also a link to where you can download seasonal images which include a quote from the week’s scripture and the month’s calendar. The stunning one on my iPad lock screen today is above while this week’s is here:

Photo Loyola 1

One really good thing about the file (above) from Loyola is that it fits perfectly onto the iPad screen while the Three Minute Retreat one needs to be reduced.

As a bonus, if you’re looking for lock screen images and home screen organization on your Android device, may I recommend what I use – Picturesque and Aviate respectively.

O Antiphons Begin Today!

Today, as Christmas Eve is one week away, we begin an ancient tradition within the Church. During this evening’s Divine Office or Liturgy of the Hours, the first of the “O Antiphons” is prayed (or chanted).

As the USCCB website states (see screen shot above), these have been prayed this week before Christmas since at least the 8th century. Loyola Press offers additional background about this sacred tradition.

Last week, I shared with my students the extensive entry Wikipedia offers on the O Antiphons. We looked at these because we’ve been singing a verse of “O Come O Come Emmanuel” at the start of class each day since Advent began.  I showed them how each verse of this beloved Advent carol lines up closely with the O Antiphons.

For example, compare today’s O Antiphon:

O Wisdom of our God Most High,
guiding creation with power and love:
come to teach us the path of knowledge!

With this verse of “Emmanuel”

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
And order all things, far and nigh;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And cause us in her ways to go.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

I thought this connection was pretty cool when I learned about it a few years back. And I hope this post either reminds you of this connection or perhaps teaches you something new!

Have a blessed final week of Advent. “Soon and very soon we are going to see the King”

Sun(Fun) Night – Which American Saint Are You?

It’s a beautiful fall day here in my neck of the woods. I’m posting this week’s feature early, so I can get out and enjoy the day – before it gets dark at 5:29pm tonight! It will be nice and sunny as I drive to school tomorrow as the sun now rises at 7:00am.

To celebrate this All Saints Day, take a few minute break from your school preparation to take this fun quiz, from the excellent Jesuit publisher Loyola Press, to see “Which American Saint Are You?” It’s photo based, so even the youngest kids can participate. So, go and take the quiz…

OK, so who’d you get?  Here’s my result:

Which American Saint Are You Loyola Press-2

Which American Saint Are You Loyola Press-3

Weekly Lectionary Gospel (4th Sunday Ordinary Time) & Reflection Resources on the Gospel

Happy February and the Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time.  Don’t get too used to those green vestments as we’re only 17 days away from Ash Wednesday on February 18th.

In a previous post I gave a link to the folder where I place an illuminated version of the weekly lectionary gospel.  I’ll continue to post to that location.  I’m planning on posting links each Saturday or Sunday to the gospel for the upcoming link. See above for what this week’s file looks like:

You can get the PDF version here.  And the editable PPT version here.

Disclaimer – Since I don’t seek to profit from these files, I don’t cite the source for each of the images found through a Google Search.

As mentioned previously, my students use the weekly gospel file as a focus for the prayer they lead at the start of class each day.  Frequently, a student offers a particularly meaningful reflection on the gospel.

Here’s some other Catholic sites which offer reflections on weekly and/or daily gospels:

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My daily go-to site is from Creighton University in Omaha.  They have many resources – the monthly calendar is great as it offers a link to the scripture for the day at the USCCB website and a brief reflection from a Creighton staff member.  I find the reflections to be down-to-earth, relevant, and useful in my own reflection.

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Thinking of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, they offer a brief video reflection on the scripture for the day found here.

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A few Catholic publishers offer scripture reflections.  Long respected RCL Benziger offers a reflection and resources.

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The Jesuit Loyola Press has this site with resources geared to different age levels.

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Other notable sites include: A Catholic Moment.

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A Catholic Mom – resources for the littlest ones.

A few more of note – Pencil Preaching; Daily Bread, Center for Action and Contemplation (Fr. Richard Rohr) and the very brief Brother Give Us A Word.