Students set Lenten example to pray, fast and give

Bill Kirk is the executive director of the Catholic Education Foundation. You can reach him at (913) 647- 0383 or send an email to him at: bkirk@archkck.org.

by Bill Kirk

The end of Lent approaches. In my home hangs my first-grade daughter’s school art project, reminding us of the three pillars of Lent: PRAY, FAST, GIVE.

A glass jar, adorned with the image of the suffering Christ, sits in our kitchen, inviting us to place a bean in it for each sacrifice we make for each other and for his sake.

With the hope that the dried beans will be replaced with jellybeans at Easter, the kids are very willing to “offer it up!”

I am grateful that my children have the opportunity to attend one of our archdiocesan schools and — in addition to reading, writing and arithmetic — learn the virtues that prepare them for a fulfilling life in this world and ready them, as well, for their eternal life in the next with Our Lord.

Let me share some special ways that some of the children attending CEF schools are living out the three penitential practices of Lent this year.

PRAY. At Holy Cross School in Overland Park, students in the 7th and 8th grades are praying the Stations of the Cross in a unique way. The students meet in small groups to read and discuss all 14 Stations and related scriptural passages, identifying a particular moral concern with each one. Through this experience, the students are entering more deeply into Christ’s passion and connecting their own lives to Jesus’ walk to Calvary.

FAST. At St. Paul School in Olathe, students are fasting from bad habits by following the theme, “Create in me a clean heart, O Lord!” The students are contemplating the virtue of order by organizing and cleaning a particular area of the school. Keeping our environment clean helps us to remember the greater importance of the purity of our hearts!

GIVE. At Sacred Heart School in Emporia, students are having a “Change Challenge.” Each class has been challenged to contribute money to a coin jar. The class that collects the most money will decide how all of the money is used to make a positive change in their community.

As the last week of Lent draws to a close, might I ask you to PRAY, FAST or GIVE to the Catholic Education Foundation? Would you pray — by offering one Mass, praying one rosary or spending one hour in eucharistic adoration — for the intentions of CEF and the families it serves? Would you fast — skip the cream in your coffee, pass on a second helping, do a boring chore without complaint — for this intention?

And, finally, would you consider a financial gift to the Catholic Education Foundation (www.cefks.org) to support our work to make high-quality, faith-filled education possible for children living in poverty?

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