A likeness of Jesus standing on a rocky shore accompanies Bishop Stephen Hero’s reflection for the first Sunday of Lent. Photo courtesy CCCB

CCCB offers Lenten video reflections

  • February 24, 2024

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (CCCB) Journey Through Lent video series is back for the second straight year, its third iteration since 2021.

This time, the Gospel-inspired reflections in English are courtesy of Bishop Stephen Hero of the Prince Albert Diocese and Saskatoon Bishop Mark Hagemoen. Meanwhile, Bishop Martin Laliberté of Trois-Rivières presents in French.  

Margaret Shea-Lawrence, director and secretary for the CCCB’s Commission for Evangelization and Catechesis (English sector), said this now annual tradition has garnered positive feedback from Canadian Catholics. 

“We get perspectives from families who say they watch the videos together once a week,” said Shea-Lawrence. “We hear feedback from groups like the (Catholic Women’s League) or other organizations who like to use the videos in meeting settings. A high school chaplain might use it for a reflection at the beginning of a session. There are various ways that the videos are useful, and they were designed to be that way.”

Shea-Lawrence added that viewers also favourably respond to the visual panache evident in each video. For example, Hero’s reflection for the First Sunday of Lent is mixed with rainbows, desert hills, Catholics praying in church and the wilderness, and the likeness of Christ standing on a rocky shore.

Hero believes the Gospel for the First Sunday of Lent (Mark 1:9-15) centres on how Jesus calls us to enter into a new covenant.

“In a world so often focused on self, humans as individuals and virtual realities, we may be simply tempted to turn to God for affirmation or approval for what I’ve decided or what I desire,” said the Prince Albert bishop. “Jesus comes inviting us into a new covenant, into God’s Kingdom where He as God’s Son can show us the way to the fullness of life in our flesh and gently heal, strengthen, recreate heart and mind. Jesus shows us what it looks like to live in this covenant with God. He strengthens us by His grace to do so.”

Hero also led on Ash Wednesday and will guide the Second Sunday of Lent before passing the baton to Hagemoen for the rest of the journey, culminating in Palm Sunday. 

The commission uses no systematic method to determine which bishops should present the reflections for Lent or its kindred Journey Through Advent series. However, this group aims to get different prelates involved each year. In 2023, Archbishop Brian Dunn of the Halifax-Yarmouth Archdiocese steered the English Lenten videos, while Quebec’s Cardinal Gérald Lacroix shepherded the French videos. In 2021, St. Catharines’ Bishop Gerard Bergie and the Archbishop Marcel Damphousse of Ottawa-Cornwall were the inaugural homilists. 

Each Monday, the CCCB website (cccb.ca) and YouTube account (https://youtube.com/user/cccbadmin) posts the video for the upcoming Eucharistic celebration. Shea-Lawrence said releasing the video six days ahead of the Mass affords Catholics plenty of time to reflect upon the Gospel reading and the calls of the 40-day Lenten season.

“We are hoping people are considering what it means to live Lent through almsgiving, prayer and fasting,” said Shea-Lawrence.

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.