An Invitation To Return To God

What is Lent?

“Yet even now, says the Lord, repent and return to me with all your heart.”
Joel 2:13

In In short, the answer to the question, “What is Lent?” would be that it’s a 40-day season beginning with Ash Wednesday (this year being February 17) and ending with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday (April 1). The spiritual practice of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving during this season are traditionally highlighted as ways we can enter more deeply into our baptismal renewal.   

So what does all that mean? 

God desires closeness with us…deeply and personally…right now, exactly where and as we are. He calls us back to him through this season of Lent: an invitation to be made whole, to be renewed, to let go of what binds us and holds us back from Him, and to embrace the fullness He offers and promises. Our spiritual practices throughout this season become like an RSVP. We then respond, allowing God to search the vulnerable depths of who we are, to reveal to us the ways in which we must grow, and to help us see ourselves in the way that he sees us.  Through this invitation and response, we are led closer with each Lenten season into the fullness of the resurrection life. We return, and through our return we are restored and renewed. Our eyes are once again opened to the fullness of God’s love and closeness in our everyday lives. 

Dates & Celebrations

Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday, Mardi Gras … this familiar day goes by many names!

There are so many unique and fun traditions surrounding this day. As the day before the start of Lent, it was often celebrated with a gathering to use up all the ingredients of the things you weren’t going to be eating during Lent. Back in the day those things included all fats and sugars. See below for a few ideas on how to celebrate this day:

Shrove  Tuesday 

Shrove Tuesday & Ash Wednesday (for Families)

Mardi Gras (Family)

Mardi Gras (Traditional)

Burial of the Alleluia

Mass:   9am  |  12:10pm  |  7pm

“Many people, even lifelong Catholics, wrongly assume that Ash Wednesday is a holy day of obligation, but it’s not. I consider it to be more of a “holy day of invitation.” Ash Wednesday invites us into a Lenten journey that, for me, is less about our Catholic guilt over everything we’ve done wrong and more about our Catholic birthright to the “fullness of life” that Jesus spoke of in the Gospels.” [excerpt from Busted Halo article “Why Ash Wednesday Isn’t a Downer]

>> Live stream will be available on StreamSpot

“Come and Journey with a Savior”    7pm | in the church

Similar to our Advent Lessons and Carols, come and journey with our Savior through an evening of prayer, scripture, and song.

>> Live stream will be available on StreamSpot

Since March 19, the Solemnity of St. Joseph, falls on a Friday this year, in accord with Canon 1251, the prescript to abstain from meat need not be observed.

Especially during this Year of St. Joseph, it would be appropriate for the faithful to celebrate a special dinner in their household and, if possible, to contribute food to the poor. Resources to support the Year of St. Joseph, including the blessing of St. Joseph’s table and more.

Check out these websites for more information about the Year of St. Joseph and how you can participate in the celebration:

What is The Year of St. Joseph?

USCCB Explanation & Resources

Year of St. Joseph Indulgences

As a reminder, Archbishop Schnurr has designated the following parishes to serve as temporary shrines during the Year of St. Joseph: 

A pious visit to one of these churches during this holy year is an occasion for receiving a plenary indulgence for those who recite an Our Father and the Creed, along with fulfillment of the other requirements for obtaining an indulgence (prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father, sacramental confession, and reception of Holy Communion). Please visit the parishes’ websites to see church visiting hours and any possible devotional activities.

Mass:  (Sat.) 5pm  |  (Sun.) 9am & 11am

“Today we celebrate Passion (Palm) Sunday. We receive palms at Mass in memory of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem where he was hailed by the people with palm branches.

As he enters Jerusalem, Jesus moves closer to his death on the cross. So these palms symbolically point us toward not merely Christ’s death but also His resurrection.” [excerpt from Busted Halo article “Palm Sunday]

>> Live stream will be available on StreamSpot

Mass of the Last Supper:  7pm  

“Jesus commissions His disciples to continue the ritual they share at the Last Supper and he tells the twelve gathered there that whenever two or more are gathered in His name, He is there present among them. Our priests today offer that same ritual, the sacrifice of Christ himself every time they celebrate mass. Tonight we recall that first Eucharist and are grateful to our priests who continue this saving work for all of us.” [excerpt from Busted Halo article “Holy Thursday]

>> Live stream will be available on StreamSpot

Stations of the Cross:   12pm

Prayer Service on the Last Words of Christ:   1pm 

Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion:   7pm

“Good Friday is the most somber day of the Christian year. It is the day our Savior died for us. It is the day we were redeemed from our sins by the voluntary death of God Himself at the hands of man. Here are 9 things you need to know *read more by clicking on article link*” [excerpt from NCR article “9 things you need to know about Good Friday]

>> Live stream will be available on StreamSpot

Blessing of the Easter Baskets:   12pm

Participate this year in the Catholic tradition of having your Easter Foods and Baskets blessed. Bring them to the church at noon for a special prayer service and blessing.

Ever wonder what the various items associated with Easter represent? Click HERE for an interesting article on the history behind this Easter tradition and the traditional foods included in the Easter basket.

Easter Vigil:   9pm  (no 5pm Mass)

Although it is a very long celebration, “the Easter Vigil is packed with breathtaking symbolism and meaning. And it is packed with a celebration of everything that we hold dear as Catholics. Christ is seen throughout in amazing grandeur.” [excerpt from Catholic Link article “If You’ve Never Been To Easter Vigil Mass, Here’s Why You Need To Go]

>> Live stream will be available on StreamSpot

Mass:   9:00am  &  11:00am  

“The Easter Vigil is the ‘Mother of All Vigils.’ Easter Sunday, then, is the greatest of all Sundays, and Easter Time is the most important of all liturgical times. Easter is the celebration of the Lord’s resurrection from the dead, culminating in his Ascension to the Father and sending of the Holy Spirit upon the Church. There are 50 days of Easter from the first Sunday to Pentecost.It is characterized, above all, by the joy of glorified life and the victory over death, expressed most fully in the great resounding cry of the Christian: Alleluia! All faith flows from faith in the resurrection:’If Christ has not been raised, then empty is our preaching; empty, too, is your faith.’ (1 Cor 15:14)” [excerpt from USCCB resource “Easter]

>> Live stream will be available on StreamSpot

Lent & Holy Week Basics

Sure you may have celebrated the season of Lent year after year, but have you ever really taken the time to learn more about what all our traditions and celebrations in Lent really mean or why we have them?  

Below are a few short videos and articles to help answer those basic questions and guide you deeper into the fullness of the Lenten season.

Living Lent in 2021

Celebrating Lent in 2021 will certainly have it's differences, but that doesn't mean that it has to be any "less." Here is a short video on how to celebrate Lent in 2021 (45 seconds)

Lent in 3 Minutes

Get the 101 on Lent in this short and simple to understand video (3 minutes)

What is the Purpose of Lent?

Watch this short reflection on the purpose of Lent by Fr. Mike Schmitz  (6 minutes)

What are the Practices of Lent?

Video by Bishop Robert Barron on the various practices we have in Lent (6 minutes)

Holy Week in 3 Minutes

Why do Catholics wave palms on Palm Sunday, wash each other’s feet on Holy Thursday, or kiss the cross on Good Friday? Busted Halo explains (3 minutes)

Lent: Simplified

I can’t even begin to list all the UNIQUE Lenten nuggets this hidden gem-site contains:

  • Download Free Lenten Wallpapers
  • Carnivore’s Guide to Lenten Fridays
  • Quote-A-Day Lenten Reflection Journal
  • Spiritual Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
  • What I Learned from Giving Up Sugar for Lent
  • 3 Creative Things to Give Up for Lent
  • What to Give Up for Lent, Based on Your MBTI

oh, you thought I was done? Nope – this site’s a keeper!

Grotto Network Lenten Bundle

Ever feel like Lent is one of those times in life where your best intentions don’t necessarily translate to the best results?

It’s so easy to go through the motions, jump through the hoops, and come out the other side feeling like you missed something.

Not anymore.

Ultimate Guide to Lent

This little smörgåsbord of Lenten goodies is ALL that it’s made out to be! Being Catholic doesn’t have to be complicated with the help of this cliff-note Catholic site. If you are looking for some AWESOME content from a game plan to your Lenten season to explanations on everything from Mardi-Gras to Laetare Sunday (what’s that?) – this place has it all, and simply explained at that!

Simply Catholic Lenten Guide

Simply Catholic Holy Week Guide

From retreats to podcasts and cross-cultural studies and Stations of the Cross, UD has many resources to add to your Lenten experience this year.

UD Lent 2021 Resources

This nifty site caters to teachers, families, and well … anyone looking to enter more deeply into their Lenten journey. 

NCEA Lenten Resources

It's MORE Than What You're Giving Up...

Lent is a space in time in which we are called to stop whatever we are doing, no matter how important it might be, and enter more intentionally into the disciplines of prayer, self-examination and repentance. But these disciplines—as significant as they are—are not ends in themselves. They are a means to an end and that end is that we would return to God with all our hearts.

Unfortunately, the practice of entering into the Lenten season has often been reduced to the question: “What are you giving up for Lent?” This is a fine question, but it can only take us so far.

The real question of the Lenten season is: How will I find ways to return to God with all my heart? This begs an even deeper question: Where in my life have I gotten away from God and what are the disciplines that will enable me to find my way back?


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Stations of the Cross  Every Friday @ St. Chris during Lent at 7pm in the church (except Good Friday, will be at noon)

Join for a Scriptural Journey through the Stations of the Cross at St. Christopher. As we enter into Passion of our Lord, we reflect, pray, and move deeper into the depth of God’s love. Journey with us in person or watch our reflection video of the Stations at St. Christopher.

Prayers written by Fr. Bob Monnin and Mike Shirk. Photos by Mike Shirk. Video created by Amy McEntee.

Scroll to the bottom of the page to watch the video OR you may also access the video through our Parish StreamSpot channel or Vimeo app on your smart TV/streaming devices.  

Feed Your Soul with Prayer this Lent!

Nothing will transform your life so completely, absolutely, and forever like really learning how to pray. That’s why this year’s BEST LENT EVER journeys through

Matthew Kelly’s latest book, I Heard God Laugh: A Practical Guide to Life’s Essential Daily Habit.

Beginning on Ash Wednesday and continuing through all forty days of Lent, you will receive a daily email with a short video to help you reconnect with yourself and your God.

If you choose to throw yourself into this experience, we promise you that you will be surprised by what God can do in your life with just an email, a short video and an open heart. So this year, don’t just sign up for BEST LENT EVER, have your best lent ever!

Dynamic Catholic: Best Lent Ever

Getting back to the old and familiar can be so nice!

Looking to journey through a more traditional approach this year? Check out these resources that have withstood the tests of time. 

Stations of the Cross for Every Day

USCCB Lenten Prayer Resources

Traditional Catholic Prayers

Creating with our Creator – sounds ahhhhhmazing!

The beauty of prayer, there are MANY ways to enter into deep worship through a variety of creative ways. Here are a few ideas to try this Lent: 

Lenten Movie Playlist

Lenten Coloring and Prayers

Lent: Art & Faith 

Drawn into Friendship 

InstaLent Photo Challenge

Fish-fries and Fasting:  Lent has traditionally been the season where we give something up, often sweets or a favorite food, in order to focus on the sacrifice Christ made on the cross. But fasting is much more than a means of developing self-control. Learn more about the point, purpose, and variety of ways we can better fast (and feast) this Lent!


Well yes, it’s a bummer about our own parish fish fry, but don’t fret – we’ve got you covered on other area fish fries that are still happening in the area.  

Catholic Telegraph Fish Fry Guide

Don’t forget, the Knights of Columbus Marion Council 3754 is still a local option on Dog Led Rd.

They will have DRIVE THRU dinners available for pick up (no need to exit your car) – All dinners are $7/meal and include Fried Fish (GF breading) French Fries and Coleslaw. Drive Thru Only and no reservations needed. Marian Manor Hall is located at 6050 Dog Leg Road, Dayton, OH 45415. 

CONTACT: Alex Gonter-Dray (937) 573-7470

Who knew that delicious soft-pretzel had so much Christian Lenten meaning “tied” to it?!

Check out these little pretzel bites:  

UD: A Pretzel for Lent

Catholic Icing: A Family Twist 

Catholic Foodie: Pretzel & Lent

During our Lenten journey, we can confidently wave goodbye to the Filet-O-Fish and confront our body’s grumbling and clamoring for meat with a prayerful disposition as an opportunity to strengthen our wills and open our hearts.

Here are meatless meal options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for each Friday of Lent to get you through the season feeling not only like a “good” Catholic (whatever that means), but also like a balanced and well-nourished human being.

A Carnivore’s Guide to Lenten Fridays

If you think you’re looking at a bleak future of fish-stick Fridays, guess again. There are so many creative, delicious ways to prepare a meal without meat. To prove it, we’ve gathered a handful of our favorites to share with you. Each week we’ll be featuring a new meatless recipe for you to try. 

Meatless Friday Recipe

Win-Win! Catholic Relief Services – who knew the little fold up cardboard boxes we receive each year has such an excellent rice recipe resource for Lent.

Journey around the world through incorporating these Lenten recipes into your meatless Fridays.

While you’re saving money on your grocery bill through these budget-friendly recipes, give the money you saved each week by not eating meat—about $3 per person per meal—to your CRS Rice Bowl to feed those in need around the world.  

CRS Lenten Rice Recipes

These resources are kind of like the who, what, when, where, why, and how of Lenten fasting and abstinence.  

Fasting and Abstinence: More than Laws of the Church

Who should fast?

Giving something up?

Not sure when to give up your chosen vice? Whatever you choose to give up — whether it’s candy, video games, Netflix, or something else — you’re guaranteed to complete Lent feeling lighter and ready to celebrate the spring season.  

25 Creative Things to Give Up for Lent


Our almsgiving has the power to transform the world. During Lent, CRS Rice Bowl invites you to reflect on some of the lives that are changed through Lenten almsgiving.

CRS Lenten Almsgiving Reflections

Order Rice Bowls

Almsgiving can be a difficult sacrifice to practice during Lent for many. If you’d like to add almsgiving to your Lent this year, but are not quite sure how to start, here are some of the lessons GROTTO network has offered to share.

How to Add Almsgiving to Your Lent This Year

What is Almsgiving, and Why You Should Think About Doing It

Giving Alms on a Budget

Make an Impact With the CRS Rice Bowl

Volunteer Service and “The Courage to Be Useless”

Need a different approach to almsgiving?

3 Ways to Give Alms during Lent

Here are a few ideas on how to put almsgiving into action this Lent.

Things to do at a Catholic Charity during Lent

Need a reminder of several charity organizations we work with in our area:

Simply search “Charities in the Dayton Area” to discover more.

Lenten Penance Options

Regular opportunities for confession at St. Christopher & St. John’s:

  • WED & FRI (12pm-1pm) Drive-Thru Confessions with Fr. Smith near the prayer garden at St. John’s in Tipp.
  • SAT (4:15pm-4:45pm) before Mass with the scheduled presiding priest.
  • PRIVATE CONFESSIONS may be scheduled by contacting either of our priests via their office phone number.

Need a little help when it comes to going to confession? Read this VERY helpful Lenten guide to the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

A Lenten Playlist

Relax, Reflect, Revive

We find ourselves doing A LOT of reflecting during the Lenten season, trying to shift focus off of what tends to grab our attention in our daily lives and re-focus on the things of our Lord and the ways He is calling us to him. 

We practice being better “listeners” in Lent. 

Speaking of listening, try using one of these playlists during your work day, as you work out, on the drive to/from work, while you cook, or just during a time when you need to take a break and rest. Let the words of the songs, the melodies, the harmonies, the beat, the flow, bring you into the tranquility of the Lord.

May your ears be open to what He is speaking to you through the music. May your heart be moved to come a little closer and stay a little longer in the presence of the Lord. 

From tots to teens, we have you covered on all the ways you can bring Christ back to core of the family throughout this Lenten season. 

Lent for Families

Check out these collective sites for ideas on how you can encourage a deeper understanding of Lent with your children.  

Drawing God 

NCEA Family Lenten Resources

Katie Warner: Lent for the Whole Family

Catholic Icing: Lent for Families

Teens are like a good book, on the outside, they may not seem that into their faith, but on the inside they are longing for the authenticity and acceptance that God offers them. Take a peek over these resources and offer a few new ideas for your older teens to engage in Lent this year.   

How to be a Catholic Teenager – Let’s start there…

VIDEO: Lent 101

InstaLent Photo Challenge

A Lenten Pinterest

Drawn into Friendship: an interactive art retreat

Anime/Manga series: “The Promised Neverland” spiritual connections

70 Lenten Teen do-able ideas

102 Things Teens Should Really Give Up for Lent

A Bit more than Practical Lent for Teens 

Our kids LOVE learning through video resources. Try having them watch one of these during their screen time or while on the drive to/from school and activities.

Jesus in the Desert

Lego Lenten Story

Catholic Kids Media: Lent Explained

Roblox: Jesus Forgives

Why not take this time during Lent to think about how you can do something a bit more meaningful through your Lent and Easter purchases for your children. Or at least have fun window shopping 🙂  

The Catholic Company

Catholic UNIQUE gift ideas

Catholic Icing Easter Basket Ideas

Katie Warner: Easter Basket Ideas

Pinterest: Catholic Easter Basket Ideas

And because the older kids, moms, and dads matter too … here are a few places to consider browsing for unique and practical gift ideas this Lent and Easter:

Catholic Balm Co.

Glory & Shine

Totally Catholic Tees

Catholic to the Max

Roman Catholic Tees

*LOVE THIS* Cedar House Co. Novelties & Accessories

*ANOTHER FEM-FAVE* Blessed is She

Journey Through Christ's passion

We invite you to journey through Christ’s Passion with us! Watch this reflective video on the Stations of the Cross at St. Christopher

Prayers written by Fr. Bob Monnin and Mike Shirk. Photos by Mike Shirk. Video created by Amy McEntee. 

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