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Living Lent Together invites participants to delve into Scripture

Catholics around the archdiocese are taking a deep dive into Scripture this Lent as they embark on a six-week journey of prayer and conversion called “Living Lent Together.”

It’s an invitation to encounter Jesus through the ancient form of Scriptural meditation called lectio divina (Latin for “divine reading”).

“We trust and believe that Scripture is the living Word of God, and that Christ clearly speaks to us through his Word,” said Calvin Mueller, coordinator of rural parish evangelization with the archdiocesan Office of Evangelization and Catechesis.

“It gives a framework to not only read it (Scripture), but to chew on it, consume it,” he said.

During January and February, Mueller’s office held five sessions to train nearly 200 leaders to recruit and lead small groups to experience lectio divina together.

One of the trainers was Cheryl Drozd, a member of St. Isidore Parish and pre-K teacher at St. Bonaventure School, both in Columbus.

Now also leading her own group of 12 women, she said they are “coming together to be in the Word, able to express and share what we feel God is saying to us.”

It’s also about building fellowship among parishioners, she said. “We’ve been away from each other so long with COVID, so we’re trying to come back and come back strong.”

The framework being used is called “WRAP,” which stands for write, reflect, apply and pray.

In the first step, a person reads a passage of Scripture, then writes down the things to which their attention is especially drawn.

Next, after reading the passage again, the person uses the imagination to place themselves in the scene and reflect more deeply on those things they noticed.

After reading the passage yet again, participants are invited to apply what they’ve learned to their own lives.

And finally, participants are invited to write a personal prayer in response to God’s promptings.

This format roughly conforms to the more traditional description of the lectio divina process of reading, meditation, prayer and contemplation.

Although lectio divina is more traditionally practiced through individual meditation, the Living Lent Together sessions involve group discussion after individually reflecting on God’s Word.

“It’s really good to do in a group with discussion, because sometimes hearing what other people say brings another light to (the readings),” Drozd said.

Living Lent Together offers groups three options for study, reflection and prayer, which coincide with the archdiocese’s pastoral vision of encountering Jesus, equipping disciples and living mercy. The accompanying resource materials offer groups the opportunity to continue their journey once Lent is over.

“If it’s something they’re really enjoying, we don’t have to stop at Lent,” Drozd said. “We can continue all year long, together in fellowship and in the Bible together.”

Mueller added that group initiatives such as Living Lent Together are part of a larger, ongoing effort to encourage small, faith-sharing groups throughout the archdiocese to build up the Church through relationships.

“The initiative is, in large part, not just to reawaken and engage, but to help Catholics understand that we play a part in forming relationships and (drawing) people to Christ,” he said.