Immigrants And Refugees
Public Statement

Lenten 2024

Lent again! Although we return again and again – often annually – to mark similar things, what we bring to them is different each year. We bring a year more of experiences and events – both good and bad – that have changed our personal and collective perspectives. This year and it seems in recent years the bad events have outweighed the good, and sometimes seem to overwhelm us.

This Ash Wednesday, the admonition given to Christians individually as we receive ashes – “Repent and Believe in the Gospel” – takes on greater poignancy. I wish we could communally offer ashes to the entire world and say “repent” from the ways of hate, violence, war, vitriol, exclusion, oppression. I would say to those who are not Christian – believe in your holy writings, believe in God as you understand and name God. For there is no genuine understanding of God that tolerates hate and violence as acceptable religious expressions.

For us as Christians, Lent calls us to repentance and deeper belief – personally and socially.

Let me focus on the personal. Each of us Christians are called to use the gift of these 40 days to change our lives positively. The threefold practices of prayer, fasting and charity are the tools we use to achieve this positive change. They focus on the three relationships that buoy up or tear down every human person – with God, with others, and with self. Prayer toward God, charity toward others, and fasting toward ourselves.

The questions I ask myself are simple – What will I do differently these 40 days of Lent to improve these relationships?

  • God:              How will I pray more?
  • Self:               How will I fast/sacrifice more? 
  • Others:          What will I do more charitably or to be of more service?

It’s that simple. Pick an answer for each question and do it. I’ve partially answered them for myself. I’ll guarantee that by Easter your life will be better – and quite possibly in ways you cannot expect.


Msgr. Kevin Sullivan