Monday, March 7, 2016

Father John: 5 Ways to Walk with Francis

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A neighbor is giving up chocolate. Your brother has stopped playing video games. A friend quit drinking soda. Sound familiar?

As we start the fourth week of Lent, many are focused on keeping their promise of giving up something during the 40 days of Lent. We think it's time to break the mold.

In his Lenten message this year, Pope Francis encouraged all to practice the works of mercy with our neighbors in need. Use Lent as an opportunity to continue to Walk with Francis by praying, serving or acting in your community. Don’t know where to start? 

We sat down with Father John who shared five ways to Walk with Francis this Lent.

1. Walk into Your Pantry 
From Father John: "One in eight DC residents will face hunger this year. This weekend and next, parishes and schools will be collecting food items for the Lenten Food Drive." Take this opportunity to donate canned goods and non-perishable items to help combat hunger in the community. Here's all your info on the Lenten Food Drive.

2. Walk the Stations of the Cross
From Father John: "Walking the Stations of the Cross reminds us of Jesus’ sacrifice and love for us. Adding prayer to your routine will help you refocus and get in touch with your faith." Consider committing to pray for our clients here

3. Walk into Your Closet
From Father John: "We know March is a hot and cold month here in DC! For many of our homeless neighbors or low-income families, they are still battling the cold on the streets." Start your spring cleaning early and select a few items to share with someone who needs warmth. Click here for info on our coat closet

4. Walk on the Streets
Father John: "Start walking the streets with your eyes wide open and see people who are otherwise invisible; the poor, the downtrodden, the lonely. Start simple: give a hello and a smile that says, “You have dignity and I care about you.” If you can’t help or don’t feel comfortable, that’s okay. The best help are the structured programs and the professional staff who run them and conduct outreach often. But I hear from many folks who are living on the streets or in a shelter how hard it is to be homeless and also feel invisible." Consider getting started by volunteering at St. Maria's Meals. 

5. Walk in the Shoes of Another
Father John: "True solidarity requires sacrifice when we give. If you’re going to splurge on something this week, thing about skipping it and making a donation with that money instead. Make sure you feel it and know exactly why you are doing so. That’s the power of Lent." Make a donation to Catholic Charities to start your Lenten sacrifice