Besides celebrating the season, the events are meant to encourage the Boston College community to make time in its daily routine for prayer, said Chaplain Sr. Joan Mahoney.
"Often, what keeps us from knowing what we need to do to return to God is that we live in a busy, noisy world," said Sr. Mahoney. "Retreats allow us to take the time to seek the space and quiet to listen to what God is saying in the depths of our hearts."
One such program, coordinated by Sr. Mahoney, is intended specifically for students who might otherwise consider themselves too occupied for spiritual reflection. Known as the Busy Student Lenten Retreat, it is a directed prayer experience for students made within the daily activities of campus life, offering what chaplains call the chance to "listen to God on the Boston College campus."
The 60 students who have registered commit themselves to a half-hour of prayer three times a week for the three-week retreat, which runs from March 15 to April 3. Each student will meet weekly with an assigned spiritual companion, either a chaplain or one of several staff members and area religious who have volunteered to assist in the program, explained Sr. Mahoney.
Through March 31, Sr. Mahoney is leading a series of weekly discussions on scripture and prayer, meeting Tuesdays from 12:15 to 1 p.m. in the McGuinn Hall fifth-floor lounge. Staff, faculty and students are invited to bring lunch and join Sr. Mahoney in prayer and discussion of scriptural passages along a Lenten theme.
Songs of praise from the African-American gospel tradition will be featured at St. Ignatius Church on Sunday, March 29 at a 9 p.m. gospel Mass that will include the talents of the student a cappella group Voices of Imani and the University Chaplaincy's Liturgy Arts Group.
Other Lenten events and programs include a three-day retreat on Cape Cod for sophomores and juniors from March 27-29. Led by Chaplains Daniel Ponsetto and Paula Norbert, the retreat will offer a relaxed atmosphere for personal and shared prayer and reflection, focusing on the life and message of Jesus Christ as presented in the gospels and preached by Society of Jesus founder St. Ignatius Loyola.
During the University's Easter break, which begins with Holy Thursday on April 9 (all University offices will be closed on Good Friday), Ponsetto will lead an urban immersion experience at a Lawrence soup kitchen, Lazarus House, where students will work and live through Easter Sunday.
Faculty, staff and students are invited to take part in a Holy Week retreat on campus during the Easter break. Participants will meet for prayer, discussion and meals, join in a service project, and take part in Holy Week liturgies during the retreat, which runs from the afternoon of Holy Thursday to the evening of Holy Saturday.
More information on Lenten retreats and programs is available from the Chaplaincy in McElroy 215, or by calling ext.2-3475.
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