Marilyn Karpinski
St. Anthony de Padua, Angola
February 22, 2017 // Parish

Steuben County parishes begin Lenten journey

Marilyn Karpinski
St. Anthony de Padua, Angola

What are you giving up for Lent this year? This is a question Catholics, young and old, often ask one another as Ash Wednesday approaches and they make plans for their Lenten journey.

In solidarity with one another, all Catholics are asked to give up meat on Fridays during Lent, and to strictly fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Beyond these minimum requirements, however, Catholics are also encouraged to personalize their Lenten journey by choosing other works of mercy and acts of personal sacrifice.

Just as each person decides how he or she will observe Lent, so too does each parish. As part of its Lenten journey this year St. Anthony Parish in Angola is offering a three-night mission in the church titled Growing Pains: The Demands of Our Lenten Journey, led by Carol and Kristen Kurivial, co-founders of Luminous Ministries.

On Good Friday, St. Anthony of Padua, Angola, presents a live, bilingual Passion Play on the parish grounds. The reenactment of Christ’s death is a recurring way in which the parish and that of St. Paul Chapel, Clear Lake, explore the theme of suffering during Lent.

Father Bob Showers, pastor of St. Anthony’s and of St. Paul Chapel at Clear Lake in Fremont, believes Lent is an ideal season to explore our own pain and how God is calling us to respond; and said the mission will address both. The first night, April 2, The Demands of Truth, begins with a dramatic interpretation of Christ’s Passion from the eyes of Claudia Procula, the wife of Pontius Pilate. The second night, the Demands of Courage, follows Mary Magdalene from walking alongside Jesus during Palm Sunday to kneeling beneath him at the foot of the cross. The mission ends with The Demands of Love, where Mary, the Mother of God reflects over the events of her life — from her “yes” at the Annunciation and to the joy she felt the first time she held Jesus in her arms to the horror of Simeon’s message and the passion and crucifixion

The theme of suffering will continue at St. Anthony with a live Passion Play presented in English and Spanish on Good Friday at 3 p.m. on the parish grounds, 700 W. Maumee St.  Members of the Hispanic Ministry spend countless hours each year in preparation for this event and offer it to parishioners and the public alike as a reminder of how Jesus suffered and died for us that we may have eternal life.

Another stop on the Lenten Journey takes place Holy Saturday morning, when the Eastern European tradition of blessing Easter Baskets is celebrated. Families fill baskets with items for their Easter dinner and bring them to the altar, where Father Bernie Zajdel, associate pastor, blesses the food. Each food is symbolic of Easter: an egg symbolizes new life; sausage, victory over death; bread represents life; and a lamb of molded butter represents the Pascal Lamb, Christ.

Stations of the Cross, eucharistic Adoration, Sunday liturgies, times of reconciliation, prayers for healing and special events for children are also regular stops for Stueben County Catholics along the journey that is Lent.

Of course, people on a journey require nourishment of body as well as soul. To that end, members of St. Anthony of Padua Church and St. Paul Chapel will prepare a fish fry each Friday during Lent. The dinners alternate between the two parishes beginning Friday, Feb. 17 at St. Anthony’s and continue the following week at St. Paul Chapel, 8780 E. 700N, Fremont. The rotation continues through April 7.

It is the belief of Father Bob and the parishioners of St. Anthony de Padua and St. Paul parishes that joy is multiplied when shared with others. To that end, they extend an invitation to anyone who wishes to come join them on their Lenten journey. With the exception of the fish fries, all events are free of charge. More information is available on the parish websites: and

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