There are 46 days between Christmas and Ash Wednesday this year-a little more than 6 weeks. The liturgists and the adult faith formation directors among us have undoubtedly started and even finalized their preparations for Lent. But what about those of us responsible for websites and social media? Have we finalized our plans for Lent?
In Face of Mercy, Pope Francis highlights the importance of Lent during the Jubilee year:
The season of Lent during this Jubilee Year should also be lived more intensely as a privileged moment to celebrate and experience God’s mercy… We can repeat the words of the prophet Micah and make them our own: You, O Lord, are a God who takes away iniquity and pardons sin, who does not hold your anger forever, but are pleased to show mercy. You, Lord, will return to us and have pity on your people. You will trample down our sins and toss them into the depths of the sea (cf. 7:18-19). #17
About this Lent, he writes:
May the message of mercy reach everyone, and may no one be indifferent to the call to experience mercy…
This is the opportune moment to change our lives! This is the time to allow our hearts to be touched! …God never tires of reaching out to us. He is always ready to listen… #19
How are we going to announce this invitation to mercy on our websites and Facebook pages? How are we going to make the merciful love of the Father the central theme of our online communications during Lent?
As I have written many times before, Ash Wednesday is a primary evangelizing moment in the Church. Even those who have not been to Church for years recognize Ash Wednesday as a special moment. We know that some of them on their own will show up “for ashes.” Others may come with a simple invitation. This year, let’s offer them more: the merciful love of the Father shared in as many ways as we can: the way we welcome them, the way we invite them to make this journey with us confident of God’s mercy and forgiveness.
Our websites and our Facebook pages can be messengers of mercy especially to those who are not in church on Sundays, but we need to make plans to do that. If we don’t plan, it won’t happen or it will not be done well.
One way to enhance our invitation is to use video.
Ash Wednesday Videos
Last year, I produced parish videos inviting people to Ash Wednesday services. I will do that again. Here is the sample 2016 Ash Wednesday video:
If you would like to order this video for your parish, complete and submit the form at the link below and an order form will be sent to you. All orders must be in by January 29, 2016. The special discount price is $34.95 which you can pay through PayPal or Credit card.