Eastern Deanery to host trio of Lenten events

Friday, Feb. 09, 2024
By Linda Petersen
Intermountain Catholic

SALT LAKE CITY — Catholics in the Eastern Deanery of the Diocese of Salt Lake City have a couple of Lenten prayer opportunities over the next three months, as two Lenten retreats and one workshop on Ignatian Spirituality will be offered in Vernal, Moab and Price.

The free, six-hour presentations will be offered by Catherine Morgan, certified Ignatian director; and her husband Ralph Morgan, Ignatian coordinator. This came at the request of Father Arokia Dass David, pastor of Notre Dame de Lourdes Parish and its associated parish and missions.

Lenten retreats are scheduled for Feb. 24 in Vernal and March 2 in Moab; the Ignatian Spirituality workshop is tentatively scheduled for April 20 in Price.

“When they get through this process, they will come to understand and better appreciate the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist by their prayer experiences and their encounters with God through the things that take place,” Catherine Morgan said of participants. “These exercises move retreatants into a knowledge of Christ in his/her heart and a deep sense of peace and gratitude for the Mass and the True Presence.”

At all three events participants will be introduced to Ignatian spirituality, meditation and forms of Ignatian prayer that will draw them closer to God, Morgan said. These will include Lectio Divina, a traditional practice of scriptural reading, meditation and prayer.

“We’re going to instruct them in three different prayer methods from Ignatius, to draw them closer into their relationship with Christ,” Morgan said. “We’re going to teach them how to hear God’s voice through Lectio Divina, and we will be teaching Lectio Divina for the Scripture or the New Testament reading for later that day or for Sunday.”

During the events, participants will engage in the exercises in both large and small groups, and then share what they have learned.

“They will be asked to put themselves in the scene, to imagine that they are present at whatever is going on in that Sunday scripture,” Morgan said. “And then they’re going to share the experience with their groups as to what they experienced.”

Participants will also examine Mary’s experience at the foot of the cross.

“It appeared as though she was just standing there, but she was pondering,” Morgan said. “In the Hebrew sense, to ponder is to take in what’s going on, so take in the crucifixion, take in what’s going on in the scene, to hold it, to carry it, to transform it and to give it back as love. That’s what Mary was doing at the foot of the cross.”

The prayer exercises developed by St. Ignatius have been taught to the laity since Vatican II, and have been used in monasteries and prayer communities since the 16th century. Employing them allows people to draw closer to God than they ever imagined, Morgan said. “The experiences are transformational and they will come to know God after this experience in a way that they have never experienced.”

WHAT: Lenten retreat/workshop

WHEN: Saturdays Feb. 24 (Vernal), March 2 (Moab) and April 20 (tentative, in Price)

                  8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day   

WHERE: Feb. 24 at St. James the Greater Catholic Church, 138 North 100 West, Vernal

                    March 2 at St. Pius X Catholic Church, 122 West 400 North, Moab

                   April 20 at Notre Dame de Lourdes Catholic Church, 210 N. Carbon Ave, Price

The retreats/workshop will focus on Ignatian spirituality and how it points to the Eucharist. Free. Lunch provided. Contact Michelle Straton, 435-789-3016.

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