The Season of Lent is upon us again, the time when Christians take time to reflect and prepare for Holy Week and Easter. It was during Lent in 2020 when the country went into lockdown to try to halt the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Although things are in a slightly better place than they were 12 months ago, and the increase in vaccinated individuals is promising, church services and activities are nowhere near “normal.” While we might not be able to mark Lent in the “usual” ways, Holy Spirit Verona is still providing opportunities for the community to gather for spiritual enrichment (and even a little fun!).
The day before Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of Lent, is called Mardi Gras (or “Fat Tuesday”) and is often celebrated with a Pancake Supper. While Holy Spirit Verona is unable to host this community event this year, we are still offering the opportunity to gather – online of course – for a round or two of “Episcopal Jeopardy,” with your host, Father Jerry Racioppi (sort of the opposite of Alex Trebek). So, cook up a plate of pancakes and join us for some trivia and laughs!
For our community’s safety, we also will not be offering “Ashes to Go” in our church parking lot on Ash Wednesday (February 17) this year. But we will be holding online services via Zoom, at noon and 7 p.m., to mark the beginning of Lent, and we’ll be holding you and the greater community in prayer on this most holy day. Seminarian Katherine Rollo says, “While we won’t be imposing ashes this year, we will still gather and pray in the spirit of the day, remembering that we are dust and unto dust we shall return.”
We will also be offering a calming, reflective, 30-minute prayer service called Compline at 8 p.m. on Tuesday evenings, beginning February 23. Our congregation’s spiritual practice for Lent will be a deep dive into some of the Psalms, with time for reading and reflecting on these verses that were written as songs. Sunday School and Confirmation Classes, as well as a Sunday afternoon Spiritual Enrichment Group, will all focus on learning more about the Psalms by looking at 11 of them over the weeks leading up to Easter. As Father Jerry says, “This Lent promises to be ‘awe-psalm’ at Holy Spirit!” And if you’re looking for something lighter, “Lent Madness 2021” – a virtual tournament in which you can vote for your favorite saints – kicks off on Ash Wednesday.
We’re happy to be able to continue what has become a tradition at Holy Spirit – collecting nonperishable items for our Food Pantry in a “40 items for 40 days” food drive. If you’d like to pick up a box to fill, or want to create your own, you can find more details here. Please return your box to the church by Sunday, March 28 (Palm Sunday).
Holy Spirit Verona joyfully explores and shares faith, serves others, and welcomes all, and has a vision to be a vibrant congregation known for its commitment to supporting one another, deepening faith, and doing God’s work in the world. Sunday service are at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. currently via Zoom. We hope you’ll consider visiting or joining this joy-filled community.