When the Lenten season began last month, it almost seemed like Lent 2020 had never ended. Ash Wednesday 2020 was the last all-school Mass held in the gym. Since then, Cheverus has adapted by live-streaming Masses and prayer services.
“When we came together as a Campus Ministry team in early January, we knew we needed to be creative in our approach to Lent,” said Campus Minister Mr. Greg Szkarlat. “After we produced a pre-recorded Advent Vespers service in December and the student participants enjoyed it so much, we brainstormed ways in which we could create something even more engaging in the weeks leading up to Easter,” he said. The result is a five-part, multimedia prayer series called “The Way - A Lenten Pilgrimage.”
In collaboration with the Theology, Art, and Music departments, a short, student-led prayer service is shared in classrooms each Monday of Lent, when the school typically prays the Examen. The series includes photos submitted by Ms. Erica Papkee’s Grade 10 Theology class, music performed by students studying with Fine and Performing Arts Chair Mr. Chris Humphrey, as well as paintings of native Maine animals by members of Ms. Anne Hayes’ fine arts classes. The video shared with the student body also incorporates personal reflections from senior Kairos Leaders on the theme for each week.
Mr. RJ Jacobs, nSJ was assigned to Cheverus this spring for his “long experiment” and worked with the Campus Ministry team on the development of the Lenten program. “One thing I've learned about our Cheverus community through this collaborative project is that the spirit of the magis runs through so many of our students, faculty, and administrators. From the depth of our students' reflections to their outpouring of artistic and musical talent, our students give so generously of themselves for the betterment of our community,” he said.
While Cheverus has had in-person learning since September, on any given day, some students may be learning remotely. “The Way” creates an inclusive experience that is not bound by place.
Recognizing that members of the wider Cheverus community may be seeking ways to enrich their Lenten journey, a modified version of the videos, which excludes the personal student reflections, is available to alumni and friends at lent.cheverus.org each week. “Our hope in sharing the series with the larger community is that individual prayer can be enhanced through a shared experience wherever and whenever one can participate. This allows Cheverus to meet people where they are,” said Szkarlat.
Continuing the pilgrimage theme of “The Way,” Ms. Antonson’s Grade 11 Theology students will be sharing reflection aids on the Stations of the Cross in another video presentation to be released during Holy Week.