Celebrating Lent in new ways at Sacred Heart Greenwich


Lent is a period of time when Christians spiritually prepare for Easter Sunday, the day of Jesus’ Resurrection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians use the Lenten season to focus on their relationship with God by sacrificing something of significance, volunteering, and providing support to others. This year, Sacred Heart Greenwich put together a series of Lenten Reflections from its constituents to celebrate the liturgical season and honor the 200th anniversary of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne’s voyage to the Americas. 

Shown above is an infographic explaining the important days of Lent and Easter. Courtesy of stmarysycamore.com.

Lent consists of 40 days that precede Easter Sunday, plus six special Sunday feast days. The six Sundays of Lent have Latin names and are numbered; the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and Palm Sunday.
Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent and is always 46 days before Easter. The date of the Easter Holiday follows a lunar calendar. The feast day always falls on the Sunday after the first full moon following the Vernal Equinox, March 21, according to crosswalk.com. This year, Lent began Wednesday, February 14 and ended yesterday.
The 40 days of Lent represent the time Jesus spent in the desert enduring the temptation of Satan. Lent is a time to open up one’s heart to better understand God’s grace through prayer, confession, and fasting, according to catholic.orgIt is also a time for self-reflection. This is Middle School History Teacher Ms. Stephanie Haas’ first Lent at Sacred Heart, and she has noticed the school’s community growing closely together during this season.
“I think Lent is a time of community for Sacred Heart,” Ms. Haas said. “The changes and growth that Lent brings with it haven’t been individual; we have grown as a community through discussion and service, not just spiritually, but also academically and professionally.”
Sacred Heart celebrates Lent in many ways. This year, Sacred Heart community members wrote and shared a series of Lenten reflections honoring St. Rose Philippine Duchesne an200 years of Sacred Heart education in the Americas. These reflections are a collaboration of writings from Sacred Heart students, faculty, staff, and alumnae on their interpretation and personal connection to the specific Bible reading for each day of Lent.
One community member who wrote a Lenten Reflection is Head of Lower School Ms. Christine D’Alessandro. Her assigned passage was Genesis: 37:3-4, 12-13A, 17B-28A, and Matthew 21:33-43, 45-46. Ms. D’Alessandro shared what Lent and her passage mean to her.
“Lent is a time for reflection, and a reminder of how we idealistically need to practice our spirituality every day, within every moment of our lives. The specific passage I most recently reflected on focused on forgiveness, but forgiveness is a piece of a much larger concept and practice when our overall intention is to live a spiritual life. In order to live a spiritual life, we need to lead our lives with an open heart, so that forgiveness, tolerance, compassion, love, and joy can flow freely and limitless,” Ms. D’Alessandro said. 
From left to right: Head of the Lower School Ms. Christine D’Alessandro, Middle School History Teacher Ms. Stephanie Haas, and Giselle Grey ‘20 have participated in the Daily Lenten Reflection Series at Sacred Heart Greenwich. Christine Guido ‘20

For Christians, Lent is a time to be aware of the suffering of others and to enter Easter with a greater appreciation of God. Through Sacred Heart’s Lenten Reflections, the school community is engaged in this spirit of awareness, prayer, and reflection.
“Life is always challenging our practices, which is why it is vital for us to have faith in God, and our understanding that all situations, even the ones that leave us the most confused and in a state of great suffering, are there to teach us, lead us to our most authentic spiritual path, and support our overall growth towards our highest purpose. If we believe that, then we can trust in our pain, our suffering, our conflict and confusion, which along with our happiness and joy, all flow down the same river of our life’s journey toward its destination,” Ms. D’Alessandro said. 
Sophomore Giselle Grey also wrote for the Lenten Reflection Series. In her writing, she expressed how Lent allows her to contemplate how she lives her life every day.
“Lent is a time of reflection and perseverance for me. Lent is about reflecting on how I’ve lived my life so far, and how I want to be living [my] life a year from now,” Giselle said. 
– Christine Guido, Staff Writer
Featured Image by Christine Guido ’20