Lent is journey. When traveled with those in RCIA, it is the most powerful of journeys. First, Christ’s “come and see,” then ashes and rites of sending and election. Freed by the scrutinies, they drink living water, see anew and are given new life. Their journey is ours each Lent.

— Ursula Cawley, Holy Cross Parish, North Portland

“Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return” reminds us that we will face our creator. Death is the last thing we want to think about, but it will happen. We need to prepare for it. We need to be close to God and Lent offers us many opportunities.

— Deacon Ricardo Cervantes, Our Lady of the Mountain Parish, Ashland

Our parish provides many fine Lenten activities. In addition, I still give up some pleasure, usually chocolate. In our secular world, I find it helpful to have a concrete reminder that we are in Lent, our season of simplicity, humility, and preparation for Easter’s wonders.

— Sheila Cullen, St. Clare Parish, Southwest Portland

Lent is a reminder that I came from dust, and to dust I will return. While here on earth all that I have — looks, health, talent — is not for me to covet and cling to but to be used according to God’s will and for God’s glory. Ad majorem Dei gloriam.

— To-Ha Doan, Our Lady of La Vang Parish, Northeast Portland

Lent is a time to reflect on and grow in my relationship with God, my faith, community, family and friends. This year I plan to reflect on those aspects of my life through the lenses of sacramental life, the gifts of the Spirit and the beatitudes.

— Camelia Hanemann, Holy Family Parish, Southeast Portland

Lent means preparing for Easter, taking the time to step back and be ready for the amazing event of Jesus rising from the dead. It helps us really slow down from life and pay attention to how amazing our faith is.

— Gianna Hanson, St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Veneta

The word sacrifice captures Lent for me. The sacrifice of Jesus is astonishing. Having that much love for someone that you would fast for 40 days! We can sacrifice like Jesus, even in our own small ways. Love your neighbor and sacrifice for others to show your love, just as Jesus did.

— Hannah Hanson, St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Veneta

To bow before God in order to remain in his love is the way of this Lenten journey. Disciples are commanded to love one another that we will remain in him whether we are in the desert, near running streams, in the carpenter’s shop, at the wedding feast in Cana or on the cross.

— Chris Hart, St, Joseph Parish, Roseburg

I think of ways to draw closer to Christ. Last year I prayed for all those asking for prayers on social media. This became a morning routine. This year I will be finding additional groups to pray for as I respond to God’s call to care for those in need.

— Diane Anthony, St. Rita Parish, Northeast Portland


One thing I do to observe Lent — abstinence. Why? Abstinence elevates the human spirit to conquer a fault and acquire control over the self. In that way, it bears witness to the redemptive power of Christ over human nature. Also, abstinence gives profound spiritual conviction, inner peace, and transformation. 

— Fr. Justus Alaeto, Star of the Sea Parish, Brookings

Our Lord asked St. Jerome for a gift, and St. Jerome responded with many offers, but Jesus refused each gift. Finally St. Jerome asked Jesus, “What would give you, Lord, the most joy?” Jesus replied, “Give me your sins.” I pick a sin to work on throughout the days of prayer and fasting.

— Mary Jo Baich, Sacred Heart Parish, Medford

I pray the Stations of the Cross as a reminder of the genuine love Jesus has for us. He gave his life so that we can be forgiven. Fasting, repentance, self-denial and extra prayers are something I do to show my appreciation for what our Lord went through for us.

— Patrick Beckham, St. Mary Our Lady of the Dunes Parish, Florence

As a Benedictine, I have my Lenten list of good works blessed and approved by my prioress. This was prescribed by St. Benedict in his Rule (Chapter 49), written in the sixth century, to safeguard against “presumption and vainglory.” I find it a good way to grow in humility and self-knowledge.

— Benedictine Sr. Dorothy Jean Beyer, Queen of Angels Monastery, Mount Angel

I like the Stations of the Cross. When my mom passed away, I got her “Book of Prayers” and in there was “A Scriptural Way of the Cross.” It became a habit for me to read each night during Lent. It made me reflect on the greatness of our Lord’s sacrifice and love.

— Debby Bloom, St. Francis de Sales Mission, Hammond

One word I associate with Lent is opportunity. The church gives me an opportunity to reflect on my life and make necessary adjustments. She encourages me to sacrifice whatever prevents me from spending time with God. This year: Less time on the computer, more lectio divina.

— BJ Buxton, Sacred Heart Parish, Medford

Lent is an important season in my Catholic faith. We observe and commemorate the Passion, death and Resurrection of our savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus died to forgive our sins and bring us eternal salvation. It is a time of reflection, making sacrifices and changes to better my life.

— Joel Cabilatazan, St. John Fisher Parish, Southwest Portland

Lent represents an opportunity to reflect on our faith. What do we believe and how do we demonstrate those beliefs and values in our daily lives? Are we living our faith in a way that represents who we want to be as Catholics and how can we become better/more active Christians?

— Cari Hayes, St. John Fisher Parish, Southwest Portland

A word that captures Lent for me is “recharge.” A time to reset my spiritual compass, to plug into those things that help me to be holier. By giving up little pleasures, I strengthen my spiritual backbone, helping me to resist sin and live closer to God’s will.

— Kay LaBerge, Our Lady of Victory Parish, Seaside

Lent is a time to reconnect, reconcile with God. Prayer reminds me to take time for God. Praying together gives us stronger relationships and helps us be united in Christ. It’s time to reflect on my life as a Christian: How is my relationship with God? Do I obey the Ten Commandments?

— Francis Kham, St. Joseph the Worker Parish, Southeast Portland

What Lent means to me is thinking about how Jesus was in the desert fasting for 40 days. I think about how he died on the cross for our sins. I give things up because we are taking a little bit of what Jesus went through and putting it into our own sacrifices. 

— Matthew Hanson, St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Veneta

I attend the Stations of the Cross and the soup supper at my parish church. This helps me remember just how much God loves us and how much he wants us to join him in his kingdom for eternity. Also, the soup supper makes me learn how to make soup without meat.

— Nancy Lane, St. John the Apostle Parish, Reedsport

“Reflection” is — the word that captures Lent for me. How am I doing both spiritually and personally as a disciple of Jesus? Am I loving my neighbor and making Jesus the center of my life? Ash Wednesday reminds me time is not infinite. The Stations of the Cross focus my walk with Jesus.

— John LaRouche, St. John the Evangelist Parish, Yamhill

Lent is when I take a deeper look to see where I can strengthen my relationship with God and where he is directing me to grow in my faith. I am always hopeful that the insights I gain at Lent lead to growth that continues through the rest of the year.

— Tammy Loughran, St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish, Astoria

Lent is a time of deep reflection. Each year the 40-day journey brings about a deep sadness for all that Jesus endured for us. But toward the end of the journey I have overwhelming feelings of extreme gratitude, joy, and love. Lent is my favorite time of year.

— Teri Martinez, St. Joseph Parish, Salem

To observe Lent for the past three years, I have prayed the rosary every day. I do this not only to enhance my own spiritual life but to take the opportunity to pray for other people as well. I hope to continue this tradition for a long time.

— Brendan McKeegan, St. James Parish, McMinnville

There is a lot I can say about Lent but to keep it short and simple: Lent is a time to reflect and prepare ourselves mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually for the death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

— Alpacino Moses, St. Anthony Parish, Southeast Portland

Sacrifice is the word that captures me. Lent for me is a time where we reflect on the sacrifice our Savior has made for us. Every year as Lent approaches it is important for me to personally sacrifice something and offer it for a particular cause or someone in need.

— Jacqueline Najera, St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Salem

Lent is a time to look deep into my heart and soul, and ask: “What is my current relationship with my loving God?” With reflection, prayer, fasting, repentance and reconciliation, I ask for forgiveness and remind myself that my relationship with God is important above all things. Without him, I am nothing.

— Quan Nguyen, Our Lady of La Vang Parish, Northeast Portland

I am reading Bishop Fulton Sheen’s “The Life of Christ.” His explanations are beautiful. I am just about to the Last Supper and will take the book to the Carmelite chapel to read through to the end during Lent. Bishop Sheen taught the beauty of sitting in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

— Rita Parks, St. Mark Parish, Eugene

I want to live a different Lent: simple, cheerful and unconditionally giving of life to each person Jesus puts at my side. I want to welcome them with love and compassion, have my heart open for their needs. Prayer, penance and alms will help me understand the importance of this liturgical time.

— Amparo Piedrahita, St. John the Baptist Parish, Milwaukie

As a child, I liked very much to see the purple color inside the church. The bad part was not eating meat on Fridays. As an adult, Lent is a time of conversion and repentance, a season to reflect on my actions so that I can repent of my sins.

— María Elena Ruiz, St. Joseph Parish, Salem

Immersed in a culture that idolizes productivity, Lent for me means deepening my focus on seeking and embracing God’s will, for therein lies my delight. During Lent I spend time reevaluating the tenor of my life in the light of God’s love. A phrase that captures Lent? Divine love.

— Brooke Ryan, St. Michael the Archangel Parish, Southwest Portland

Last year a mother in our moms group shared this idea: Make a paper chain of 40 links and write the names of people to pray for on each link. It is simple yet effective. Our family tried it and plans to do it again this year. Lent and family life need simplicity!

— Beth Schaller, St. Ignatius Parish, Southeast Portland

Reading is my favorite pastime. During Lent I limit myself to books written by people blessed with the ability to inspire: Pope Francis, Bishops Robert Morneau and Robert Barron; and Sisters Joyce Rupp and Joan Chittister, for instance. I also read saints’ biographies. My spiritual life has been enriched each year.

— Dee Schantz, St. Henry Parish, Gresham

Lent means “abstaining” from my pursuits and “feasting” on life in Christ. This holy season allows me to focus on my journey of faith more closely. Throughout Lent, I am able to explore my prayer life more deeply and to respond to Jesus’ offer to “Follow me.”

— Margaret Schuster, St. Thomas More Parish, Southwest Portland

Since becoming involved with the RCIA, Lent for me means hope, expectation and excitement. Through the rites I’m privileged to witness the power of grace in the candidates and catechumens. Our hearts stir with repentance as we joyfully wait for the Easter Vigil. Lent then, is an exciting journey of joyful expectation.

— Irma Vásquez, St. Matthew Parish, Hillsboro

The Stations of the Cross depict how Jesus suffered and died for us. It always humbles me to prayerfully reflect on his loving and willing sacrifice for us and for our sins. I pray for his blessing and the strength to follow in his footsteps by living well and doing many acts of charity.

— Ernie Weber, Holy Redeemer Parish, North Portland

Lent is a time to listen and find. To listen to the voice of God, who is always calling. To find where your heart belongs — in front of the Lord, exposed. All is done by living simply and with humility.

— Diego Yañez, St. Michael the Archangel Parish, Southwest Portland

I participate in the parish Stations of the Cross on Friday evenings. I grew up Protestant, and there wasn’t much discussion about Good Friday. It seemed it was all about Easter Sunday. Now as I see the suffering love Christ has for us, I’ve realized you can’t have Easter without Good Friday.

— Scott Zetterberg, St. John the Baptist Parish, Milwaukie

The one word that truly captures Lent for me is peace. During Lent, we are meant to find peace in our struggles in order to prepare our hearts for the Resurrection of the Lord on Easter Sunday, much how Mary found peace in her son’s death through God.

— Duncan Yozzo, St. Mark Parish, Eugene