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Sherry Hayes-Peirce looks back at the first half of Lent and measures her progress in keeping her Lenten promises.

How is your Lenten Journey going? It is always a time for me to stick to a plan I’ve designed to immerse myself in activities that allow me to pray, fast and give. For many years I have shifted from the traditional mindset of “Giving Up” something to “Doing Something” that deepens my relationship with Christ.   

So far, it has been a struggle to stay on track because of the distractions that will invariably create a roadblock or detour on the road to Easter. Two years ago when my husband died, my entire plan for the journey was destroyed. This year the murder of my friend and colleague Bishop David O’Connell again threatened to derail my best-laid plans, but I chose to lean into his death as a focus to “Do Something” to celebrate and honor him.  

My plan was to attend daily Mass every day, participate in the Hallow App #Pray40 challenge, CRS Rice Bowl, Soles to Souls meal packing event, and give up alcohol. The official start to Lent began with Ash Wednesday, which also coincided with the Religious Education Congress in Los Angeles (RECongress). It is the largest gathering of Catholics and draws people from all over the globe to attend the event. After three years of a minimized experience due to COVID-19, this year the event drew over 9,000. For me, it is like a Catholic family reunion and an opportunity to connect with friends and learn about trends that are happening in our parishes, Church, schools, and more.




There are many social events during RECongress and the libations abound: such temptation! I stayed on track and did not have a drop of alcohol and felt very proud of myself. As I watched others sip their drinks it reminded me of when Jesus was hanging on the cross and He said, “I thirst.”   

The days at RECongress are very long, so listening to my Hallow App first thing in the morning made it easy to pray on the go for me those first few days. Sadly, I have not been consistent and missed a few days and then had to catch up. I haven’t dropped a single penny in my CRS Rice Bowl. This practice has been with me since I was child attending Catholic School. Every day I would save some of my lunch money and put it in the bowl that was placed on our dinner table. It was such a reminder as we gathered around the table for our meals that we were so blessed to have ample food to eat while others did not.   

Every year our parish does a shoe drive, and my Dude and I always donated shoes as part of our Lenten journey. Last year, this was a way for me to start the difficult process of letting go of some of my Dude's personal effects and two pairs were donated. Sadly, this year I was so busy it slipped my mind to drop our donations off. The plan to participate in the meal packing event also didn’t happen, because I planned a trip to visit my grandchildren without looking at the calendar before booking my travel plans.   

I have been able to attend daily Mass and feel so blessed to be at a parish that offers so many opportunities to attend Mass and pray every day.  


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Whatever your plan is for drawing nearer to our Lord, celebrate the success of doing something to grow your faith and deepen your relationship with Christ.   #CatholicMom


Halfway through the journey, I have maintained three out of the six things outlined on my Lenten Journey plan. If you are like me a planner, when you miss the mark you are disappointed in yourself. Don’t be so hard on yourself. When I fail, I imagine Jesus falling from the weight of the cross as He moved closer to calvary. The sacrifices we make are like crosses that we are carrying through the season of Lent. Like Jesus gets back up after each fall, you must too!  

While the meal planning and Soles to Soul options are gone, I will start putting money in the CRS Rice Bowl. In fact, I will place it on my dinner table like I did when I was a kid, to remind me to drop money in it at mealtime. As my schedule is wide open for the remainder of Lent, my new plan is to spend time in Adoration for the remaining Fridays of the season. It folds into my devotion of the Sacred Heart of Jesus as there are two First Fridays during Lent this year.   

Whatever your plan is for drawing nearer to our Lord, celebrate the success of doing something to grow your faith and deepen your relationship with Christ.  




Copyright 2023 Sherry Hayes-Peirce
Images: (top, bottom) copyright 2023 Sherry Hayes-Peirce, all rights reserved; (center) copyright 2023 CatholicMom.com, all rights reserved.