ROUNDTABLE: A campus minister, a Latino catechist and a South Dakota parish priest talk about Lent in their communities.
You might not think penance would be so popular, or that the average person in our generally feel-good culture likes being reminded that they’re dust. Yet the numbers don’t lie: Ash Wednesday is one of the most popular days to come to church, especially for non-practicing Catholics and even non-Catholics.
To try to get some insight into this phenomenon, and to discuss how we can all have a more fruitful Lenten season, the Register spoke with three Catholics ministering to different communities across the country: Jule Coppa, a campus minister at the Penn Catholic Newman Center in Philadelphia; Alma Cuate, a catechist and member of the parish council at the Church of the Assumption, a predominantly Latino parish in the Minneapolis suburb of Richfield; and Father Michael Kapperman, parochial vicar at Sacred Heart Parish in the rural South Dakota town of Aberdeen.
Ash Wednesday is a very popular day to come to church, even for people who don’t regularly practice their faith. Is this true in your community, and, if so, why do you think that is? How can it be an opportunity for evangelization?
COPPA: This is certainly true for our Newman Center community. There have been years where we’ve seen triple the Mass attendance on Ash Wednesday compared to an average Sunday. There is something about Ash Wednesday that is so visible, so uniquely Catholic, that even dormant Catholicism wants to rise to the occasion for it. The beginning of Lent calls for a fresh start and for making a return to God. These themes definitely aid our outreach and evangelization efforts, because not only are new people showing up, but they also seem to be more receptive to changing things up and making prayer and Church activity part of their Lenten practice.
Please find the rest of the article at The National Catholic Register…
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