A round-up of some of the Lenten opportunities offered in the diocese

Ash Wednesday (March 1 this year) marks the start of Lent, a season of sacrifice, prayer and charity. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Parishes and Catholic organizations and institutions around the Diocese of Peoria are planning special activities for the penitential season of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday, March 1. Following are just some of the spiritual opportunities made known to The Catholic Post.

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Bushnell mission focuses on “Why Be Catholic?”

BUSHNELL — Father Ken Geraci, a member of the Fathers of Mercy, will be the preacher for a Lenten mission offered March 4-9 by St. Bernard Parish in Bushnell and St. Augustine Parish, St. Augustine. The theme is “Why Be Catholic?”

Father Geraci

Father Geraci will introduce himself to parishioners and give the homilies at the 4 p.m. Mass on Saturday, March 4, and the 10 a.m. Mass on Sunday, March 5, at St. Bernard, and at the 8 a.m. Sunday Mass at St. Augustine.

All the conferences from Sunday through Wednesday, March 8, will be held at 7 p.m. at St. Bernard Church, 376 W. Hail St. The sacrament of reconciliation will be available at 6 p.m. each evening and after Father Geraci’s talks.

The mission will close with Mass at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 9, at St. Bernard. A reception with cookies and punch will follow in the parish hall.

The themes for the conferences are: Sunday, “God’s Mercy — Church or Spirituality?”; Monday, “Why Do We Do That as Catholics?”; Tuesday, “Jesus the Divine Mercy”; Wednesday, “Two Obstacles to Healing”; and Thursday, “How to Pray the Mass.”

As a young adult, Father Geraci left the Catholic Church for many years. He worked in research and development and was involved in software testing before starting an internet software company with some co-workers.

He said a search for truth led to a series of conversions, years of struggle, study and questioning and ultimately brought him back to the Catholic Church. He joined the Fathers of Mercy in 2006 and was ordained in 2012.

For more information, call the parish office at (309) 772-2333.

Steve Ray to present mission in Silvis March 6, 7

SILVIS — Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 800 17th St., is planning a Lenten parish mission for Monday, March 6, and Tuesday, March 7. The featured speaker will be Steve Ray, a best-selling author and Catholic apologist, who has traveled to the Holy Land more than 100 times to explore, film documentaries, and lead pilgrimages.

Steve Ray

On both days there will be Mass at 6:30 p.m. followed by a presentation by Ray and time for questions. On Monday, he will talk about what drew him to the Catholic Church in “Loving and Living the Catholic Faith.” His presentation on Tuesday will be “Swimming Upstream: Living the Catholic Life in a Non-Christian World.”

Ray’s books, which include “Crossing the Tiber,” “Upon this Rock,” and a commentary on St. John’s Gospel, will be available for purchase.

There is no charge to attend the mission, but donations are welcome.

Lenten series in Peoria Heights considers ‘care of whole person’

PEORIA HEIGHTS — The Tuesdays of March will be devoted to exploring “Care of the Whole Person As We Journey in Faith” at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, 904 E. Lake Ave. Each session begins at 7 p.m. and will be held in the lower level of the church.

The Lenten series begins on March 7 with “Spirituality and the American Mental Health Crisis.” It will be presented by Dr. Ted Wolgamot, a clinical psychologist and addiction specialist.

Msgr. Jason Gray, pastor, will address “The Role of Silence as We Care for Our Spirit” on March 14. “Wellness — Care for Our Bodies on the Journey of Faith” will be discussed by Dr. Tim Vega, director of OSF Health Management and Ambulatory Physician Practice, on March 21.

The series will conclude on March 28 with “Decisions as We Approach the End of Our Life.” The presenter will be Dr. Joseph Piccione, corporate ethicist for OSF Healthcare System.

The series is free and open to the public.

Rock Island parish plans Holy Hours, confessions

ROCK ISLAND — Sacred Heart Church, 2810 Fifth Ave., invites people to “be renewed” by attending a Holy Hour each Tuesday of Lent, from March 7 to April 11.

The Lenten Holy Hour begins at 5:30 p.m. Prayers follow at 5:40 p.m., with Stations of the Cross planned for 6 p.m. The sacrament of reconciliation will be available.

Expert on Sheen, Mary presenting Lenten mission in Brimfield

Dr. Howard

BRIMFIELD — Dr. Peter Howard of Heroic Families will present a Lenten parish mission for the parishes of St. Joseph in Brimfield and St. James in Williamsfield on Sunday, March 12, and Monday, March 13. “Rediscovering Mary’s Critical Message through the Heroic Life of Fulton Sheen” is the theme for the mission, which will be held at St. Joseph Church, 314 W. Clay St.

Both evenings begin with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at 6 p.m. Howard’s talks will follow at 7 p.m.

Howard holds a doctorate in sacred theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (also known as the Angelicum) in Rome. A national speaker and videographer, he is the author of “The Woman: The Mystery of Mary as Mediatrix in the Teaching of Fulton J. Sheen.”

Retreat will remind women “You’re Worth It!” in Geneseo

GENESEO — St. Malachy Church, 595 E. Ogden Ave., will host a retreat day for women on Saturday, March 25. “You’re Worth It!” will be presented by author, blogger and speaker Danielle Bean.

Danielle Bean

The retreat offers four sessions of 50 minutes each that include Gospel reading and guided reflection, followed by opportunities for journaling and guided group discussion. The themes for the sessions are “Be Found,” “Be Tested,” “Be Forgiven” and “Be Welcomed.”

There will also be time for personal prayer and group prayer led by Bean.

The publisher of Catholic Digest, Bean is also a talk show host on CatholicTV. She is the author of “My Cup of Tea,” “Mom to Mom, Day to Day” and the book/parish study, “Momnipotent,” and co-author of “Small Steps for Catholic Moms: Your Daily Call to Think, Pray and Act.”

Check-in for the retreat begins at 8:30 a.m., with the first session at 9 a.m. The day will conclude at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets are $35 and include lunch.

For more information or to register, visit this website or contact Jesica Bries at jsbries@gmail.com. Those who cannot send email or use the website to register may call Bries at (563) 271-5821.

Redemptive suffering topic of April 4 day of recollection

“Don’t Let Your Suffering Go to Waste” will be the topic for a Lenten day of recollection led by Father John Verrier on Tuesday, April 4, at the Spalding Pastoral Center in Peoria. It will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Father Verrier

Father Verrier, the pastor of St. Joseph in Brimfield and St. James in Williamsfield and spiritual director for the Eucharistic Apostles of Divine Mercy Cenacle of Peoria, will offer two reflections on how we can unite our suffering with Christ as a sacrifice of love, especially at Mass, and the importance of cultivating a devotion to the Passion of Christ.

The day also includes Mass, eucharistic adoration, confession, the rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet.

The cost is $20, which includes meals, a CD on “15 Things to Do in the Midst of Suffering,” and other materials. The deadline for reservations is March 27.

Make checks payable to “Divine Mercy Cenacle of Peoria” and send them to Janice Lukich, 20806 N. Sequoia, Chillicothe, IL 61523.

For more information, call Arlene Heinz at (309) 868-9061 or Ellen Kleczek at (309) 208-6001.

Rock Island monastery hosting ‘Pretzels for Lent’

ROCK ISLAND — Families with grade school children are invited to St. Mary Monastery, 2200 88th Avenue West, for an evening of food, stories and activities on Tuesday, April 4, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The presenters for “Pretzels for Lent” are Deacon Steve and Kathy MacDonald of Dubuque, Iowa.

In addition to talking about how pretzels and Lent go together, the MacDonalds will dramatize how pretzels were first created. Participants will have a chance to make their own pretzels.

While all ages are welcome, the focus will be on families with grade school children. Grandparents, aunts and uncles are welcome, too.

The cost for “Pretzels for Lent” is $15 for a family of two or three, and $20 for a family of four or more. For more information or to register, contact Sister Jackie Walsh, OSB, at (309) 283-2108 or retreats@smmsisters.org.

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