Now in its sixth year, 40 Days of Lent and Service is an institutional initiative focused on offering a diverse range of service opportunities through which campus community members can connect and volunteer with local nonprofits in San Antonio. Initiated by President Tom Mengler through his collaborative work as a Board member for Catholic Charities of San Antonio, this effort reaches wider than just St. Mary’s, bringing all institutions in the city together to celebrate the Lenten season by responding to the needs present among us. Traditionally, Continuing the Heritage serves as our kickoff to 40 Days, in collaboration with our community partner, Catholic Charities.

This Lenten Season, the Office of Community Engagement will re-center our program on our faith tradition by re-engaging with fasting, prayer and almsgiving — customary practices within the Catholic Church. Each week of Lent will focus on a specific social justice theme. Opportunities to participate will be offered both in-person and virtually. You do not need to be Catholic to participate.

Registration opens Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021, and will remain open throughout Lent.



Weekly Themes


Feb. 22-26
Standing Against Racism

March 1-5
Examining Criminal Justice Reform

March 8-12
Exploring Immigration

March 15-19
Addressing Climate Change

March 22-26
Food and Housing Insecurity

March 29 to April 1
Combating Educational Inequalities


Each week will have three days of opportunities for participants to engage in Lenten practices. For prayer and fasting, there will be an opportunity to attend the corresponding prayer service via Zoom for those who need the remote option. For almsgiving, should one be unable or uncomfortable serving in person, participants can send monetary or in-kind donations to the non-profit partner. Those who attend events in person will receive specialized gifts tailored to support and encourage participants’ ability to more deeply engage in our traditions of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

Mondays are days of inclusive prayer, reflecting a commitment to better understanding justice through spirituality. Participants are invited to an afternoon prayer service, available both in-person and virtually. 

Wednesdays are a day of fasting. Those attending in person will receive a to-go meal to break the fast. Virtual participants can Zoom in for the prayer service. 

Fridays will honor almsgiving by participating in an afternoon of service at one of our nonprofit partners, whose mission corresponds with the issue. Remote participants can make monetary or in-kind donations to the nonprofit.

In addition to the above weekly activities, the Office of Community Engagement will be collecting non-perishable food donations supporting Catholic Charities of San Antonio’s 40 Cans for Lent initiative. Bins will be in Bordeaux Hall lounge and the University Center throughout Lent.


WEEK 1 | FEB. 22-26

Standing Against Racism

The first week of Lent, our prayers, reflections and activities will be informed by our exploration of structural racism and intersectionality. Opportunities will aim to encourage a posture of anti-racism: that is, taking an active stance against racism rather than ignoring, denying or being passive in this face of racial injustice. We hope you’ll take advantage of this opportunity to engage in what can be hard or uncomfortable conversations, rooting ourselves in our Marianist charism and our call to be activators of justice.

  • Monday, February 22

    As you begin your day….

    As you begin your day, place yourself in the presence of God.  We invite you to join with others to end the sin of racism in all its form…

    O Lord our God, in your mercy and kindness, no thought of ours is left unnoticed, no desire or concern ignored. You have proven that blessings abound when we fall on our knees in prayer, and so we turn to you in our hour of need.

    Surrounded by violence and cries for justice, we hear your voice telling us what is required, “Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). Fill us with your mercy so that we, in turn, may be merciful to others.

    Strip away pride, suspicion, and racism so that we may seek peace and justice in our communities.  Strengthen our hearts so that they beat only to the rhythm of your holy will. Flood our path with your light as we walk humbly toward a future filled with encounter and unity.

    Be with us, O Lord, in our efforts, for only by the prompting of your grace can we progress toward virtue.  

    We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Amen.

    United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

    Morning Prayer

    Systemic Racism Explained

    Ask yourself:

    • What are some prejudices that you might hold that you’re not aware of?
    • An end to racism will only begin if each individual adheres to the words of Jesus Christ to, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” (Mark 12:31). What is a good neighbor? Have I been that type of person?

    Definitions:

    • Systemic racism: A system in which public policies, institutional practices, cultural representations, and other norms work in various, often reinforcing, ways to perpetuate racial group identity.
    • Racial justice: The systemic fair treatment of people of all races, resulting in equitable opportunities and outcomes for all. Racial justice goes beyond “anti-racism.” It is not just the absence of discrimination and inequities, but also the presence of deliberate systems and supports to achieve and sustain racial equity through proactive and preventative measures.
    • Open Wide Our Hearts: A pastoral letter by U.S. Catholic Bishops reflecting on the dignity of every human person, establishing the Church’s moral imperative to combat racism as a life issue.
    • Universal Call to Holiness: The idea that all people are called to be holy in the way they live their everyday lives, not just saints of people in positions of leadership.
    • White privilege: The unquestioned and unearned set of advantages, entitlements, benefits, and choices bestowed on people solely because they are white.
    Midday Moment

    A time of quiet reflection…

    • Have I ever been discriminated against? Where was I? What was it about me that people did not like or was angered by?
    • How do we as individuals, as an educational institution, and as a society actively build bridges with people of different races, culture, sexual orientation, faith traditions, etc.?
    • What action can I take this day to affirm and respect difference and to reject discrimination?
    Reflections
  • Wednesday, February 24

    As you begin your day of fast….

    As you begin this day of fasting being mindful of all the sin of racism, we invite you to place yourself in the presence of God with this prayer.

    A Lamentation and Prayer for Action Against Racism

    We are tired, O Lord,
    Overwhelmed by the violence and death
    That has ravaged this country,
    Fed by prejudice and mistrust.

    We are tired, And yet we are called to mourn together,
    To lament and to remember the names:
    May the dead rest in your peace,
    May our acts of solidarity with the living
    Be a memorial to the dead.

    We are fearful, O Lord,
    As we see the violence and death
    That plagues our nation,
    So infected with the racism that remains
    An open wound that has not healed.

    We are fearful,
    And yet we are called to embrace
    And to embody Gospel values
    So we commit to work
    For positive change and racial justice.

    May our voices calling together for this justice
    Be a part of our lament for those
    Who have suffered and died unjustly.

    May our voices calling to transform
    Sinful structures of racism and violence
    Become a healing chorus for the living.

    Hear our sorrows, our laments, O Lord,
    And as we strive to follow
    The loving wisdom of Christ:
    Hear our calls for solidarity and healing. 

    Amen.

    Jane Deren, Ph.D.

    Prayer originally from Education for Justice.

    Morning Prayer

    When you’re feeling hungry…

    As we fast in solidarity for the injustices of racism, let us take a moment to….

    Do you want to fast this Lent? In the words of Pope Francis.

    What is your racial literacy?

    Meal Prayer:

    For the Good of All

    May we be strong in virtue
    firm in time of trouble,
    and always ready to help others in time of need.
    May we be blessed by God
    as we share this food
    and as we work and live together
    for the good of all.

    – Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, A Book of Blessings, 183.

    Midday Moment

    A time of quiet reflection…

    May 25, 2020: George Floyd dies in police custody. 

    George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, died in Minneapolis on Monday after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by Derek Chauvin, a white police officer. Bystanders captured video of the officer behind a police car using his knee to pin Mr. Floyd by his neck. Mr. Floyd is heard repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe,” in the video.

    • Where were you on May 25, 2020 and what do you remember on that day?
    • Do you recall the last homily you heard in church about race or racism?
    • What do you find disturbing about the death/killing of George Floyd?
    • What was your dinner conversation about that night?
    Reflections
  • Friday, February 26

    Almighty and eternal God,
    may your grace enkindle in all of us
    a love for the many unfortunate people,
    whom poverty and misery reduce to a condition
    of life unworthy of human beings.

    Arouse in the hearts of those who call on you,
    a hunger and thirst for peace and justice,
    and for charity in deeds and in truth.

    Grant, O Lord, peace in our days,
    peace to our souls, peace to our families, peace to our country,
    and peace among nations.

    Amen.

    Pope Pius XII

    Morning Prayer

    Fr. Chaminade Quote

    If you pray and are not answered, why do you not continue praying until your prayer is heard?

    In the meantime, do all that you are inspired to do.

    Letter #725, Feb. 7, 1834

    Get to know Fuerza Unida

    Fuerza Unida’s mission is to support women, workers and their families towards economic, social and climate justice through information, education, activism and community organizing. Today the women of Fuerza Unida continue working towards providing support to the groups that still struggle through oppression here in San Antonio. They provide a variety of services for their members, and work together to inform the community about everyday struggles minorities face. They currently have four active programs established to support the community.

    Midday Moment

    A time of quiet reflection

    • What are two things that touched your heart in learning about Fuerza Unida? How will this experience change your understanding of racial injustice?
    • Where do you see God in your service work today?
    Reflection

WEEK 2 | MARCH 1-5

Examining Criminal Justice Reform

Week two of Lent will expose participants to concerns with our criminal justice system. Considering how we can contribute to equity and equality within our organizational framework of crime and punishment, participants will engage in learning, reflecting and acting for the Common Good with a focus on this issue of justice. 

Our almsgiving service opportunity for week two will be with Chrysalis Ministries. The event will take place on campus.

  • Monday, March 1

    As you begin your day….

    As you begin your day, know that many others join you in prayer. We invite you to place yourself in a quiet space, calling to mind the inequity in our criminal justice system, and all those who labor daily to engage in positive reform.

    Lord Jesus, for our sake you were condemned as a criminal.

    Visit our jails and prisons with your pity and judgment.
    Remember all prisoners.
    Bring the guilty to repentance and amendment of life according to your will.
    Give our brothers and sisters hope for their future.

    When any are held unjustly, bring them release.
    Forgive us and teach us to improve the weaknesses of our justice system. 

    Remember those who work in these institutions.
    Keep them humane and compassionate,
    and save them from becoming brutal or callous.
    Although behind bars and contained, the prisoners are your children too.

    And since what we do for those in prison, O Lord, we do for you,
    constrain us to improve their lot.

    All this we ask for your mercy’s sake.

    Amen

    Morning Prayer

    Martha Minow: How forgiveness can create a more just legal system

    Get to know Marianist Social Justice Collaborative

    The Marianist Social Justice Collaborative (MSJC) began in 1998 as a means to promote education and action for social justice within the Marianist Family.

    Join us on Thursday, March 4

    Midday Moment

    A time of quiet reflection

    • Should our criminal justice system be more punitive or rehabilitative? Why? Is it possible for a system to be both punitive and rehabilitative? What would you want to happen to someone who had committed a crime against a member of your family?
    • Would it be difficult for you to work with people who had been convicted of crimes? Perhaps particular crimes more than others? Why or why not?
      • What internal conflicts am I experiencing right now?
    • What are your thoughts when people say, “Just forgive and forget?” Is this a Christian attitude?
      • What does my heart say? Am I betraying the victim and my family?
    Reflection
  • Wednesday, March 3

    As you begin your day….

    As you begin this day of fasting, we invite you to place yourself in a quiet space: calling to mind the inequities in our criminal justice system, and all those who labor daily to engage in positive reform.

    Prayer for Kinship* and Community

    Lord of Light who moves us forward,
    You call us to kinship and community.
    In this time of growth and greening,
    We pray that we may grow
    in our compassion and care
    For all our sisters and brothers:
    Those around us at our tables,
    Those in all parts of our local communities,
    Those across our nation, in power or in pain
    Those at our borders seeking safety and solace.

    May we be inclusive, and
    May our circle of care ever widen.
    May we practice being fully present,
    Listening with respect and attention,
    Especially to those at the margins.
    May we be moved to serve and to advocate,
    Seeking to create a beloved community,
    Where even the faintest voice can be heard.

    Lord of Light, we give thanks for your call
    To kinship and community.
    Re-energize our spirits so we may respond
    And become part of the growth and greening
    of the people of God, building your kingdom,
    Healing the earth and welcoming all your children.

    – Jane Deren, Ph.D.  

    *Thanks to Fr. Greg Boyle for declaring this call.

    Morning Prayer

    The Hawai’i Blessing

    Let your heart and spirit be refreshed by the Holy Spirit with The Hawai’i Blessing.

    Restorative Justice…a path to criminal justice reform?

    We, as members of the Marianist Family, because of our belief in the sanctity of all human life and in the dignity of all persons, pledge ourselves to prayer, education, reflection, and action to abolish the death penalty.

    The death penalty is unjust, inhumane and inconsistent with the Gospel message. We seek to change hearts and minds concerning this injustice. As a positive step, we promote restorative justice, a community-centered approach to justice which views crime as a violation of people and relationships, rather than simply a violation of law.

    Restorative justice works to repair the harm caused when any offense is committed by focusing on the needs of the victims (including the community) and on the offender’s responsibility to repair harm, with the goal of fostering healing and restoring relationships.

    Marianist Social Justice Collaborative

    Southern Poverty Law Center: Criminal Justice Reform

    Over the past four decades, our country’s incarceration rate – the number of prisoners per capita – has more than quadrupled and is now unprecedented in world history.

    Today, roughly 2.2 million people are behind bars in the United States, an increase of 1.9 million since 1972. We have the world’s largest prison population – with one-quarter of its prisoners but just 5 percent of the total population.

    And, on any given day, some 7 million people – about one in every 31 people – are under the supervision of the corrections system, either locked up or probation or parole.

    This vast expansion of the corrections system – which has been called “the New Jim Crow” – is the direct result of a failed, decades-long drug war and a “law and order” movement that began amid the urban unrest of the late 1960s, just after the civil rights era.

    It’s a system marred by vast racial disparities – one that stigmatizes and targets young black men for arrest at a young age, unfairly punishes communities of color, burdens taxpayers and exacts a tremendous social cost. Today, African-American men who failed to finish high school are more likely to be behind bars than employed.

    We’re using litigation and advocacy to help end the era of mass incarceration, to root out racial discrimination in the system, and to ensure humane, constitutional standards for prisoners:

    • Reforming policies that lead to the incarceration of children and teens for minor crimes and school-related offenses;
    • Working to transform a juvenile system that subjects children to abuse and neglect without providing necessary medical, mental health, educational and rehabilitative services.
    • Ensuring that prisoners are not subjected to unconstitutional, inhumane conditions and that they receive proper medical and mental health care.
    • Seeking to stop the prosecution of children in the adult criminal justice system and their incarceration in adult prisons and jails.
    • Advocating for rational policies and laws that keep communities safe while vastly shrinking the prison population and reducing the social and economic impact of mass incarceration on vulnerable communities.

     Statistics: Racial Disparities, The Sentencing Project

    Join us on Thursday, March 4

    Midday Moment

    A time of quiet reflection

    • How can mercy change the heart and life of a person who has committed a crime?
    • How does your faith call you to restore the dignity of offenders and victims alike?
    • What life experiences shape your views about criminal justice? In what ways can you reflect on these experiences to bring about a change of heart, either in yourself or in others?
    Reflection
  • Friday, March 5

    As you begin your day…

    Almighty God,
    you are a God of justice and righteousness.

    The prophet Amos says,
    “may justice roll down like a river,
    and righteousness like a never-failing stream.”

    We pray for the justice system in our country.
    May judges, legislators, and law enforcement personnel,
    work with community leaders and advocates
    to end oppression and exploitation,
    together bringing justice to our city and our nation.

    Amen.

    Redeemer Presbyterian Church

    Morning Prayer

    Pope Francis Quotes

    “It is up to every society … to ensure that the penalty does not compromise the right to hope, that prospects for reconciliation and reintegration are guaranteed…”

    “Life imprisonment is not the solution to problems – I repeat; life imprisonment is not the solution to problems, but a problem to be solved.”

    “Because if hope is closed in a cell, there is no future for society. Never deprive one of the right to start over.”

     “Never let yourself be imprisoned in the dark cell of a hopeless heart; do not give in to resignation. God is greater than any problem and is waiting for you to love you.”

    “Lay the foundations for a more respectful coexistence and therefore for a safer society.”

    An audience with Pope Francis with penitentiary staff and prison chaplains Vatican City, Sep 16, 2019

    The criminal justice system needs to recover its rehabilitative aspect in order to promote true justice.
    Ignatian Solidarity Network

    Get to know Chrysalis Ministries

    Mission Statement

    Chrysalis exists to equip and empower individuals and their families to overcome the consequences of incarceration.

    Vision Statement

    Chrysalis strives to benefit our community, reducing recidivism and restoring families by providing professional mission-specific services.

    Faith Statement

    Chrysalis is an ecumenical ministry which values inter-faith cooperation.

    Midday Moment

    A time of quiet reflection

    • What have you gained and will take away from this service experience?
    • Has learning about Chrysalis Ministries impacted how you see the inequalities in our criminal justice structures? What are your observations? What are the things that surprised you?
    • Where do you see God in your service work today?
    Reflection

WEEK 3 | MARCH 8-12

Exploring Immigration

The third week of Lent will be spent exploring injustice within our immigration system, and the impact of unjust policies on family unification and upholding human dignity. Considering how we can use our individual and collective voices and privilege to advocate for just immigration reform, participants will grow in awareness and understanding.

  • Monday, March 8

    As you begin your day…

    Creator God,
    open our eyes so we can see you in the eyes of our immigrant brothers and sisters,

    eyes downcast for having lived so long in the shadows,
    eyes challenging us to join them in the streets or picket lines,
    eyes lifted looking for the Christ light in us.

    Compassionate God, who has come to dwell among us,
    open our ears to hear the cries of your children,

    children being separated from their parents,
    rounded up in raids,
    led to detention centers,
    silently giving up dreams.

    God of Justice, who crosses all boundaries,
    give us courage to resist, to say NO

    to unfair labor practices,
    to unjust laws.

    Give us the strength to stand with and for

    your inclusive love,
    faith to believe,
    another world is necessary and possible. Let it begin with us.

    United Church of Christ

    Morning Prayer

    Biden to Tackle Immigration Reform With Eight-Year Path To Citizenship

    Jan 20, 2021 via NBC News

    Consider these images

    • What is going through your mind as you see these photos?
    • We see these pictures a lot. Do I turn away and ignore it? Maybe I think for a second, “It doesn’t really affect me.” 
    • Where do I see Jesus and Mary in these images?
    Midday Moment

    A time of quiet reflection

    Pope Francis has encouraged all of us to pray to Mary, the mother of migrants and refugees: Let us make ourselves their neighbors, sharing their fears and their uncertainty and concretely alleviating their suffering. May the Lord sustain the people and institutions that are working with generosity to ensure refugees acceptance and dignity, and to give them reasons to hope.

    • Would I welcome Jesus, Mary and Joseph in our Country Today?
    Reflection
  • Wednesday, March 10

    As you begin your day…

    Heart of God, full of mercy, watch over our sister and brother immigrants.

    Protect them from harm even as they suffer mistreatment and humiliations on their way.

    Touch with your goodness the hearts of we who see them pass by. Break open our hearts to embrace them and the gift that they are to our communities.

    Heart of God, full of compassion, give our brothers and sisters in Congress the gift of compassion. Open their eyes to the pain and longing of those affected by their decisions.

    Give them wisdom as they struggle to repair our unjust immigration system. Break open their hearts to embrace the dreams of our immigrant parents, siblings, and friends.

    Heart of God, full of love, we give you glory for all the blessings you have given us.

    Help us to share those blessings with others that we may all know that you are a God of mercy, a God of compassion, a God of love.

    Break open our hearts that we might embrace the challenge to build a land, a nation, a community where all are welcome.

    Interfaith Immigration Coalition FastAction Campaign

    Morning Prayer

    I pray for an immigrant reform by Diana Vasquez 3/2/21  

    “My parents migrated from Mexico so that my sister and I could have a better life, but their decision to migrate came with some of the hardest consequences other ethnic groups may not recognize; being an immigrant in the United States is not easy, and it’s time for others, along with myself, to urge for immigration reform.”

    “Let the children come to me…” Matthew 9:14

    • What would you do if you felt the best option to care for your family was to live thousands of miles away from them? Can you imagine such a scenario?
    • Have you or any of your immediate family members moved a distance from your place of birth? What were the factors that lead to your or their movement?
    Midday Moment

    A time of quiet reflection

    • Do I keep myself educated on the root causes of migration? Why do so many people flee their homelands for a better life?
    • What is my parish doing to address the needs of refugees and asylum seekers? What can I do to help my parish do more for refugee children in need?
    Reflection
  • Friday, March 12

    As you begin your day…

    A Prayer for Migrants

    Dios bueno y clemente,
    Oramos por todas las personas queimmigran,
    especialmente, por aquellas que son
    forzadas a dejar sus hogares o
    amenazas de violencia y persecucion.
    Te pedimos que las protejas y las pongas
    a salvo.

    Aunque vengamos de distintos paises,
    y nuestro origen se encuentre en
    diferentes culturas,
    todos hemos sido creados por ti y hemos
    sido hechos a tu imagen y semejanza,
    por lo tanto, todos compartimos una
    dignidad inalienable que merece respecto.

    Senor, te rogamos que nos des las fuerzas
    para defender a los marginados
    para ayudar a los necesitados,
    para salir en defense de los  mas pobres y
    vulnerables,

    y para acoger a aquellos que llegaran a
    nuestros hogares y a nuestro corazon.

    Por nuestro Senor Jesucristo, tu Hijo,
    que vive y reina contigo,
    en la unidad del Espiritu Santo, un Dios,
    por los siglos de los siglos.

    Amen

    Good and gracious God,
    We pray for all people who are migrating
    particularly those who are forced from their homes
    or separated from their families
    because of threats of violence and persecution.
    We ask that you protect and keep them safe.

    Although we come from different countries,
    and have our origins in different cultures,
    we were created by you, and are made in your image
    and therefore we all share an inalienable dignity
    that is deserving of respect.

    Lord we ask that you give us the strength
    to defend those who are marginalized,
    to give aid to those in need,
    to come to the defense of those
    who are poor or vulnerable,
    and to welcome those who are on the move
    into our homes and into our hearts.

    Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
    who lives and reigns with you
    in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God,
    forever and ever.

    Amen

    US Conference of Catholic Bishops

    Morning Prayer

    What’s missing from the American immigrant narrative

    Get to know the Center for Refugee Services

    Upon arrival in the U.S., refugees receive 6 months of assistance from refugee resettlement agencies.  The Center for Refugee Services was created to offer ongoing support after the end of this initial resettlement period.  This support includes: ESL classes, job readiness, health & wellness support, and referrals to community support services.

    Get to know Marianist Social Justice Collaborative

    We invite all members of the Marianist Family into a process of sharing, reflection, prayer and action leading toward greater immigrant justice. We hope that through our work, our Marianist Family may operate as a part of the Body of Christ that is free from the constructs of racial and immigrant injustice.

    Midday Moment

    A time of quiet reflection

    • What are some of the most common arguments you hear for and against immigration? What are the primary considerations in the immigration debate in your community or school? Why?
    • What roles do immigrants perform in the economic life of your community?
    • If you were struggling in the U.S., do you think that you should be able to migrate to another country? How would you feel if you were barred from doing so?
    Reflection

WEEK 4 | MARCH 15-19

Addressing Climate Change

Week four will focus on the issue of climate change. Climate change is defined as a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods. We’ll spend the week exploring our role, as individuals and a community, on the changing climate and how we can mitigate the impact of our activity on the environment.

  • Monday, March 15

    As you begin your day… 

    Prayer for Our Earth

    All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe
    and in the smallest of your creatures.

    You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.

    Pour out upon us the power of your love,
    that we may protect life and beauty.

    Fill us with peace,
    that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one.

    O God of the poor,
    help us to rescue the abandoned
    and forgotten of this earth,
    so precious in your eyes.

    Bring healing to our lives,
    that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
    that we may sow beauty,
    not pollution and destruction.

    Touch the hearts
    of those who look only for gain
    at the expense of the poor and the earth.

    Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
    to be filled with awe and contemplation,
    to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature
    as we journey towards your infinite light.

    We thank you for being with us each day.
    Encourage us, we pray,
    in our struggle for justice,
    love and peace.

    Pope Francis, Laudato Si’

    Morning Prayer

    A deeper understanding of Pope Francis and Laudato Si’ – On Care for our Common Home

    “The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all.” (no. 23)

    A Texas city had a bold new climate plan – until a gas company got involved

    San Antonio Report – March 1, 2021

    “When the city of Austin drafted a plan to shift away from fossil fuels, the local gas company was fast on the scene to try to scale back the ambition of the effort.”

    A pizza box made from leaves

    “This Filipino restaurant is thinking outside the box! They’ve created a completely compostable and reusable pizza box made out of leaves. While cardboard boxes are tricky to recycle, this sustainable packaging helps eliminate waste!”

    How will climate change affect my health?

    Midday Moment

    A time of quiet reflection

    • How are you individually called to participate in caring for God’s creation?
    • How can we encourage a serious dialogue in the Catholic community—in our parishes, schools, colleges, universities and other settings—on the significant ethical dimensions of the environmental crisis?
    • What efforts are happening in our local community that individuals, families, and Catholic communities can participate in?
    Reflection
  • Wednesday, March 17

    As you begin your day… 

    Prayer for the Environmental Common Good

    As we breathe the very air which sustains us,
    We remember your love, God, which gives us life.

    Fill us with your compassion for Creation.
    Empty us of apathy, selfishness and fear, of all pessimism and hesitation.

    Breathe into us solidarity with all who suffer now and the future generations who will suffer because of our environmental irresponsibility.

    Move us into action
    to save our earth
    and to build your sustainable Kingdom.

    Amen.

    Center of Concern

    Morning Prayer

    Climate Change and Catholicism: Climate Justice as Essential to Catholic Mission

    March 22, 2021, 7:00 p.m. CT

    The Schemmel Endowed Lecture from Clarke University is a complimentary virtual event.

    U.S. Officially Rejoins Paris Agreement On Climate Change

    NPR, Feb 19, 2021

    “The United States on Friday officially rejoined the Paris Agreement on climate change designed to limit global warming and avoid its potentially catastrophic impacts.”

    GROUNDCYCLE: Produce to Compost.

    “We’re almost at 50,000 lbs of organics diverted from landfill now 🙂 There’s a live tracker on our website showing our progress—check it out here: groundcycle.org.”

    An Easy Guide to Composting

    How USED Chopsticks Are Turned Into Tables, Tiles, And Other Furniture

    “People around the world discard an estimated 80 billion pairs of chopsticks every year. ChopValue, a Canadian company, wants to give those wood utensils a second life as shelves, furniture and countertops.”

    Midday Moment

    A time of quiet reflection

    • Life in the developed world is based on the use of fossil fuels. When I travel by car, airplane, bus or train, when I buy products produced in factories, when I turn on the air conditioner or heat, am I aware of the pollution being caused? What changes have I been able to make to reduce my contribution to this problem?
    • How can my lifestyle produce less pollution? Can I choose to get solar or wind energy for my heating and cooling needs or join those actively working for energy alternatives? What can our community do together?
    Reflection
  • Friday, March 19

    As you begin your day… 

    Taking Time

    Almighty God,
    thank you for the gift of your creation.

    As we journey through life help us to take time to appreciate it,
    from each sunrise to sunset; to celebrate the intricacies of your handiwork, admire the changing of the seasons, recognizing that this is a gift.

    Remind us to care deeply that as our climate is changing, future generations may not have the same luxury of enjoyment, as people around the world now, are already suffering from the effects of climate change.

    May our actions reflect a love for your world and justice for those affected. Help us to share the same dream of a world free from poverty.

    Adapted from a prayer by Christian Aid


    Creation

    O Lord,
    grant us the grace to grow deeper in our respect of,
    and care for your Creation.

    Help us to recognize the sacredness of all your creatures as signs of your wondrous love. Spark our imagination so we might find new ways to live harmoniously with creation and new technologies, to reverse the damage we have done to your Creation. 

    Help us turn from the selfish consumption of resources meant for all, and to see the impacts of our choices on the poorest and most vulnerable on our planet.

    Amen.

    Adapted from Catholic Relief Services

    Morning Prayer

    Urban Agriculture in San Antonio

    This talk from our TEDxSan Antonio Food Salon is by Mitch Hagney, board president, speaks to the opportunities and benefits of urban agriculture.


    Midday Moment

    A time of quiet reflection

    • Why is Catholic Social Teaching relevant in discussions about global warming?
    • What other concerns of Catholic Social Teaching may also be relevant in discussions about global warming? Which of these speaks to you most urgently?
    • What policies, programs, structures and systems need to be changed to avoid even more serious damage to Creation?
    • How can people of faith best serve the common good at this time of environmental crisis?

    Ecological Examen

    Use this two-minute guided prayer to express gratitude for the gifts of creation and to reflect on where we have fallen short in our call to care for creation and, therefore, our sisters and brothers around the world.

    Reflection

WEEK 5 | MARCH 22-26

Food and Housing Insecurity

The fifth week of Lent will focus on issues of food and housing insecurity. When we say food insecurity, what we mean is a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. While a distinct concept from housing insecurity, the two are closely related. Housing insecurity includes a number of challenges, including having trouble paying rent, overcrowding, moving frequently, staying with relatives, or spending the majority of household income on housing. Through prayer, fasting and service, participants will come to understand these issues and their influences on one’s welfare more fully.

Our almsgiving service opportunity for week five will be with San Antonio Food Bank. The event will take place off campus.

  • Monday, March 22

    As you begin your day… 

    O God, there are so many out there who have not only no place to sleep but nothing to eat.

    Help guide them to a place like a shelter or clothing and food pantry so that they might have something to fill their stomach.

    I know that You will come to help those who are unable to help themselves and those who receive no help in the coming kingdom.

    Until then, please give me discernment to know what do to for someone that’s homeless. Perhaps take them to dinner or buy them a sleeping bag and a gift card for food.

    Oh Lord, I look forward to the day when there will be no more pain, sorrow, suffering, death (Rev 21:4), and certainly hunger.

    Speed that day my God and for those who are hungry and lost, fill them with the Word of God and bring them everlasting life in Jesus’ name I pray.

    Amen.

    Mercy Sisters

    Morning Prayer

    “1 in 3 college students faces food insecurity”

    Changing America, The Hill

    “A surprising number of young Americans are suffering serious health consequences because they don’t have the money to eat properly.”



    “Everything You Need to Know About Overcoming Food and Housing Insecurity in College”

    iGrad – March 11, 2021

    “According to a 2019 study conducted by The Hope Center for College, Community and Justice, 39% of community college students are food and housing insecure, with 13% reporting both food insecurity and homelessness.”


    Midday Moment

    A time of quiet reflection

    • Have there been times when you or someone close to you has experienced hunger? What was that like?
    • What do you about the food and housing insecurity happening in your home communities, among college students, here at St Mary’s?
    • In a journal or in conversation with someone else, explore the stereotypes, biases, and fears you have about homeless people. Be honest. What values and assumptions might be underlying these beliefs?
    Reflection
  • Wednesday, March 24

    As you begin your day… 

    God of liberation, yoke-breaker and justice-maker: hear our prayer this day for all among us who feel the stress and pain of housing insecurity.

    How does one “shelter-in-place” when there is no place to go or no secure shelter to trust?

    Where can people go when physical proximity causes hesitation and strangers are targets of suspicion?

    Undo the bonds of economic inequality that hold unjust systems together and shatter the yoke of oppression caused by the disproportional allocation of resources.

    Through your system-shattering word, strengthen those who are on the margins, provide security in these distressing times, support those on the frontlines combating housing disparities, and open the hearts of all us to your to tend to our siblings in need.

    This we pray, trusting in our eternal Home, Christ Jesus, the one breathing Easter deliverance onto all the world.

    Amen.

    Rev. Justin Lind-Ayres, University Pastor
    Augsburg University

    Morning Prayer

    “Why Sesame Street connected food insecurity to family homelessness”


    Food and Housing Access Network, Sam Houston State University

    A recent study conducted by the Trellis Group showed that:

    • 46% of students surveyed at Sam Houston State University, showed signs of housing insecurity.
    • 37% of students surveyed at Sam Houston State University, showed signs of very low food security.

    “Christians must learn to make their act of faith in Christ by discerning his voice in the cry for help that rises from this world of poverty.” 

    Blessed John Paul II
    Midday Moment

    A time of quiet reflection

    “The right to housing, the right to an honest job, are integral to a single plan of social life, which must provide dignified living conditions for everyone, without discrimination. Every city should feel committed to being a city for everyone.”

    Pope John Paul II, Address, St. Peter’s, June 2, 1996

    “Offering a ‘home’ is therefore an intrinsic task of every pastoral action. It is not simply a matter of offering a roof, but of a place where people can be fully themselves and with dignity. In a word, it is a place where one can build one’s home of relations, and develop every dimension of one’s existence, including the spiritual one.”

    International Meeting for the Pastoral Care of the Homeless, Vatican City, Nov. 26-27, 2007
    Reflection
  • Friday, March 26

    As you begin your day…

    Sharing the Loaves and Fishes

    Sharing the loaves and fishes,
    You gave us an image of solidarity with the hungry, O Lord.

    Sharing yourself in the bread and wine,
    You called all to the table, O Lord.

    Give me the hunger to be a part of the feeding
    And the healing of this world.

    Nourish me with your Grace,
    So I may work with joy to serve your children.

    Open my eyes and my heart
    To recognize those in poverty
    And increase my awareness
    Of the structures and systems
    That need to be changed
    So we may all break bread together.

    In your name we pray for the end of hunger.

    Education for Justice

    Prayer for our Homeless

    Dear God,

    Watch over your children,

    Especially those with no homes to return to at the end of long and weary days.

    Protect them from all harm and keep them from despair.

    Open the hearts and eyes of those of us with blessings to share.

    Unite our voices in a call for justice:

    So that no man need ever lay down for the night on a wooden park bench because he has no home;

    So that no woman need ever tuck her children into the backseat of her car because she has no home;

    So that no child need ever wonder, “Where will I feel safe?” because he has no home;

    So that all those who wander and all who are in need, find the shelter and the peace they seek.

    Remind us, O God, that we cannot rest fully secure in our homes each night until all your children are, at last, home.

    Amen.

    Prayerist International

    Morning Prayer

    Food insecurity is bad in Texas, but worse in San Antonio

    Learn about the San Antonio Food Bank: Serving Southwest Texas

    “Founded in 1980, The San Antonio Food Bank has quickly grown to serve 58,000 individuals a week in one of the largest service areas in Texas. Our focus is for clients to have food for today but to also have the resources to be self-sufficient in the future.”

    As food insecurity rises, pantries work overtime to meet the growing need

    “Laid off from her information technology job last Thanksgiving, then evicted for falling behind on the rent two months later and having to keep six children, fed, Bianca Simone needed options.”

    Learn about our community: An In-depth Analysis of Housing Vulnerability in San Antonio

    “The City of San Antonio’s Neighborhood and Housing Services Department engaged NALCAB – National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders to conduct a study of housing vulnerability in San Antonio, including implications for vulnerable populations and vulnerable affordable housing stock.”

    Midday Moment

    A time of quiet reflection…

    • Have there been times when you or someone close to you has experienced hunger? What was that like?
    • How can it be that even today there are still people dying of hunger? Condemned to illiteracy? Lacking the most basic medical care? Without a roof over their heads? . . . Christians must learn to make their act of faith in Christ by discerning His voice in the cry for help that rises from this world of poverty.  — Saint Pope John Paul II, Novo Millennio Ineunte, no. 50
    Reflection

WEEK 6 | MARCH 29 TO APRIL 1

Combating Educational Inequalities

Our final week will focus on educational inequalities present in our communities. Access to quality education can be compromised by various circumstances and factors. Less than 7% of the world has a college education, and in San Antonio only about 25% of people possess a college degree. We’ll take some time to reflect on the privilege of our education, and particularly how the power and gift of a Marianist education calls us to be agents of change in the world.

Our almsgiving service opportunity for week six will be with Boy With A Ball. The event will take place off campus.

  • Monday, March 29

    As you begin your day…

    Wake Me Up Lord

    Wake me up Lord, so that the evil of racism
    finds no home within me.

    Keep watch over my heart Lord,
    and remove from me any barriers to your grace,
    that may oppress and offend my brothers and sisters.

    Fill my spirit Lord, so that I may give
    services of justice and peace.

    Clear my mind Lord, and use it for your glory.

    And finally, remind us Lord that you said,
    “blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they shall be called children of God.”

    Amen. 

    United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

    Morning Prayer

    “Education should not be a competition resulting in winners and losers. Education should be a competition against ignorance, and all should be encouraged to win.”

    K.A. Brill

    “We are never going to reach equality in America until we achieve equality in education.”

    Sonia Sotomayor

    The Education gap: The root of inequality

    San Antonio school district boundaries are rooted in racial segregation. Here is a brief history.

    “Two former Alamo Heights ISD students are pushing San Antonio school districts to create an inclusive environment on their campuses.”

    Midday Moment

    A time of quiet reflection…

    • What are some examples that highlight the fact that education can help deepen one’s life and support human flourishing? Why is a properly educated population so important to building healthy and just communities?
    • Pope Francis emphasizes that we have created wider gaps between the highly educated and those on the margins; where do you see examples of this today? Why is it important that people of faith recognize such gaps? What are some ways to address this problem?
    • God cares about us really learning and getting the truth for our own lives. He cares about all people getting opportunities to learn… young, old, male, female, Jew, Gentile, etc. He wants us to have those same opportunities and extend them to others. So many people in poverty miss the opportunity of receiving education, especially women and children. Do you have a need in your own neighborhood community for literacy programs and mentoring? What about other nations?
    Reflection
  • Wednesday, March 31

    As you begin your day…

    O God,
    Give me strength to live another day;

    Let me not turn coward before its difficulties or prove recreant to its duties;

    Let me not lose faith in other people;

    Keep me sweet and sound of heart, in spite of ingratitude, treachery, or meanness;

    Preserve me from minding little stings or giving them;

    Help me to keep my heart clean, and to live so honestly and fearlessly that no outward failure can dishearten me or take away the joy of conscious integrity;

    Open wide the eyes of my soul that I may see good in all things;

    Grant me this day some new vision of thy truth;

    Inspire me with the spirit of joy and gladness;
    and make me the cup of strength to suffering souls;

    In the name of the strong Deliverer, our only Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

    Amen.

    Forward Moment

    Morning Prayer

    “Imagine an America where students everywhere receive an amazing education, regardless of the zip code they live in, money their parents make, or the color of their skin…No school should be under-resourced, no student should be without quality teachers or caring mentor, and no public policy that affects their life should go unexamined in places, where there are thriving communities of faith.”

    Nicole Baker Fulgham

    The Expectations Project

    The Expectations Project empowers people of faith to shine a light on education inequality through prayer, compassionate service and faithful advocacy. An amazing education for all God’s children. It’s not as far off as you think.

    Alice Tsui Delivers Powerful Speech at NYC Rally Against AAPI Hate

    “‘I am so mad at the toxicity of systemic racism that we breathe in’ — Activist and elementary school music teacher Alice Tsui delivered this impassioned speech to hundreds gathered for a rally against AAPI hate (warning: distressing)”

    Midday Moment

    A time of quiet reflection…

    Sixty years after the Little Rock Nine faced mobs of racially charged hatred and became cornerstones of the Civil Rights movement, Teach Us All examines how the present day United States education system fails to live up to that promise of desegregation as it slides back into a re-segregation of its modern schools.

    Reflection
  • Thursday, April 1

    As you begin your day…

    Almighty and eternal God,
    may your grace enkindle in all of us
    a love for the many unfortunate people,
    whom poverty and misery reduce to a condition
    of life unworthy of human beings.

    Arouse in the hearts of those who call on you,
    a hunger and thirst for peace and justice,
    and for charity in deeds and in truth.

    Grant, O Lord, peace in our days,
    peace to our souls, peace to our families, peace to our country,
    and peace among nations.

    Amen.

    Pope Pius XI

    Morning Prayer

    San Antonio TX: Poverty, poor schools go hand in hand

    A decade of research on the rich-poor divide in education

    “Americans like to believe that education can be a great equalizer, allowing even the poorest child who studies hard to enter the middle class. But when I looked at what academic researchers and federal data reports have said about the great educational divide between the rich and poor in our country, that belief turns out to be a myth.”

    “If you pray and are not answered, why do you not continue praying until your prayer is heard? In the meantime, do all that you are inspired to do.”

    Fr. Chaminade, Letter #725, Feb. 7, 1834

    Get to know: Boy With A Ball

    We better cities by reaching and equipping young people to turn and transform their communities. When young people do not get the love they need or are forced to grow up in unsafe situations like extreme poverty, they become vulnerable to making dangerous choices.

    Midday Moment

    A time of quiet reflection…

    “Research may be able to provide evidence on which public policies are most helpful in building an economy in which people are poised to get ahead. Conversely, it would also be beneficial to understand whether any policies may hold people back or discourage upward mobility.”

    Janet Yellen, Chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank 2015
    • If we were to take Christ’s teachings about children seriously, what changes would we have to make in national and world policies?
    • Why is it difficult for so many children to go to school even though most countries recognize education as a human right?
    • What obstacles do children with learning and physical disabilities face in terms of getting an education? Why do these children deserve special consideration?
    Reflection

How to Register

Registration for each event can be found on GivePulse, opens Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021, and will remain open throughout Lent. Our first week of 40 Days programming begins on Monday, Feb 22. GivePulse provides specifics for each event, including event times, Zoom information and off-campus event information. Once registered, participants will receive follow-up information and updates about specific events via email and/or text messages.

Please note that all participants attending in-person events will be asked to adhere to institutional COVID-19 policies and guidelines to ensure safety. Completing a health check and being subject to temperature checks will be required.

We hope that by offering each activity in both in-person and virtual formats, more members of our student, staff, faculty alumni and Marianist family communities will engage in active efforts this season. Wherever you are and however you’re able, we hope you’ll join us this year to learn, reflect, lead, grow and serve throughout Lent!

Back to top