March 12, 2018


One of the highlights of the season of the Great Fast in any parish would always be the "Lenten Mission". A special preacher would be invited to spend a few days or even a week in a parish. He would preach sermons designed to inspire the soul to repentance and to renewal. It would be a moment when the sincere attendees would experience a true ‘metanoia' and receive insights into the Gospel way of life like never before. It was often at the parish Lenten mission that young men and women would experience the calling of God to the religious or monastic life or to a priestly vocation. It was a time when all parishioners, even those that for reasons of their own dared not receive frequent Communion (as well as those that did not attend Sunday services as oft as they should) would be sure to make their "Easter Confession". Lenten Missions were and are a time of renewal for the whole parish community as everyone prepares to celebrate the "feast of feasts" - the Holy Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It is at Easter that we hear read the famous homily of St. John Chrysostom who invites all - regardless of where the path of your life has lead you to that moment - to rightfully celebrate with joy the resurrection of Christ. As best we can, we want to prepare ourselves for that encounter with the resurrected Lord by: prayer, conversion, repentance and by pushing ourselves out of the ditch and back onto the right path shown to us by our Lord. This all can happen at a good Lenten Mission where anyone seeking truth will humbly come with an open heart and mind and, besides hearing good things and making a good Confession, will ask for the direction that he/she needs.

A few "Missions" have been organized in parishes of the Archeparchy. For example, the Rossburn-Russell area just completed a mission in a few of the parishes of the area over a few days, led by the Rector of the Cathedral - Monsignor Michael Buyachok. An extraordinary three-parish Pilgrimage Mission is now underway in Winnipeg - led by His Grace Metropolitan Lawrence Huculak.

Sometimes a proper Lenten Mission per se is not possible, because of the situation in the parish (numbers, financial matters, not being able to book a particular preacher, etc.). What often happens, however, is that either a series of mini events are organized or parishioners are encouraged to attend the mission in a nearby parish or…. both. All parishes will organize as least one "Penitential evening" where the parish priest together with at least one or more extraordinary confessors (visiting priests) will be available for the parishioners to come and make their "Easter confession". Besides that, a number of parishes try to have a series of evenings - usually once a week - during which there is a prayer service, a talk, perhaps discussion and perhaps the opportunity for Confessions as well. The talk-discussion may be a matter of theology, the spiritual life or Bible study. This for example is what is happening in Neepawa with under the direction of Fr. Emil Kardasinec. Also Protopresbyter Fr. Oleg Bodnarski has organized such a series for Bible Study in Dauphin for the district he serves. St. Anne's Parish in North Kildonan has just concluded a series of Bible Study sessions and Holy Eucharist Parish in East Kildonan has also been hosting Friday evening programs that include the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, a Lenten Fellowship supper with a "guest speaker" and discussion, all followed by the Way of the Cross.

See what is happening in your parish, and check out neighbouring parishes for possibilities to participate in inspiring Lenten programs - as we prepare, soon enough, to celebrate Easter all together!

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