Great Turnout for Evening of Lenten Reflection
Alumni, parents of alumni, and parents of current students attended an Evening of Lenten Reflection on Wednesday, March 7, in the Chapel of the North American Martyrs. Fr. Kevin Dyer, S.J, Jesuit’s chaplain and Sodality director, served as the featured speaker after he and Fr. Paul Shaughnessy, S.J., concelebrated Mass for all in attendance.
The complimentary event attracted more than 200 guests who gathered in the chapel for optional confession, Mass, and Fr. Dyer’s reflection titled On Gratitude. After the reflection, guests moved to the Student Commons for a small reception. The annual event has tripled from the inaugural Evening of Reflection in 2011 when 70 parents gathered in the smaller Holy Name Chapel.
“We don’t really pray to Jesus as much as we pray in Jesus,” said Fr. Dyer, S.J. “The Mass itself is Jesus saying a prayer of thanksgiving to the Father, and it is Jesus who invites us along for the ride.”
Fr. Dyer mentioned the prayer of thanksgiving as a segway into the topic of his reflection On Gratitude. He reminded guests to be grateful throughout the Lenten season for all of God’s gifts, especially for the people they love and see everyday. Even beyond that, Fr. Dyer offered three things for which to be grateful that cannot be taken away—creation, redemption, and sanctification. After telling an inspiring story for all three of these lifelong blessings, Jesuit’s chaplain provided a biblical analogy for guests to reflect on throughout Lent.
“In the Agony of the Garden, Jesus had to drink the chalice filled with gall. Our job as Christians is to grab that chalice, whether it be filled with gall or wine, and drink it,” he said.
Fr. Dyer closed his address with a suggestion for prayer before bedtime. Using the 3-2-1 technique, he encouraged guests to recall “three things you’re thankful for, two things you’re sorry for, and one resolution for tomorrow.”
The Evening of Reflection is a response to an interest expressed by many Jesuit High School alumni and parents to reconnect and engage in a theological dialogue about Jesuit teachings. Fr. Dyer followed a diverse list of Jesuit priests who have spoken at alumni reflections. The first event for alumni featured Fr. Nick Schiro, S.J. ’44, who spoke to Blue Jays about the importance and technique of prayer in everyday life. The following Advent, Fr. Randy Gibbens, S.J. ’95 spoke about the expectation of Christ’s coming at Christmas through the experience of St. Joseph. Jesuit’s president Fr. Christopher Fronk, S.J. focused on spiritual development for last year’s Lenten reflection, while Fr. John Brown, S.J. looked past the headlines during Advent 2017 and reflected on Pope Francis and Marriage.
Jesuit will continue to invite alumni, their parents, and parents of current students to these semi-annual Advent and Lent events of reflection, prayer, and discussion as an opportunity to grow in their spiritual lives.