LENT Message

LENTEN CAMPAIGN 2016 – Merciful Like the Father

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Message for Lenten Campaign 2016

Process of Renewal
Growth, renewal and transformation are essential aspects and intrinsic components of a mature and anchored Christian life. Together with the universal Church, the local Church in Malaysia promotes the need for annual renewal through and during the significant season of Lent, and moves us towards tangible and concrete conversion and transformation. Our Lenten prayers and practices should result in a concrete expression of our renewal. This yearly Lenten call by the Church invites, encourages and challenges us to make specific decisions, undertake appropriate actions and facilitate necessary processes in line with our Faith, and consistent with Kingdom values.

Building the Kingdom
During Lent and in the spirit of Lenten renewal, we re-focus and re-commit ourselves – as individuals and as groups – to become dedicated agents of Christian change who will more faithfully build the Kingdom of God in our families, BECs and other communities that we are involved and engaged in. Through the triple Lenten efforts of praying, fasting and almsgiving, we come to a better understanding, acceptance and practice of our vocation to serve faithfully and perseveringly in the Lord’s Vineyard.

Theme Focus
In the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur, this year’s theme for Lent – Merciful Like the Father – is the motto for the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy 2016 declared by the Holy Father. The theme richly enables and empowers us to positively change and transform our relationships and communications with the various categories of people living in our community, including the family. This essential theme – based on mercy and compassion – invites, encourages and challenges us to reach out with compassion to our neighbours (regardless of who they are). The Weekly Reflection Table provides helpful sub-themes to support the practice and principle of compassion in six contexts. The accompanying and supporting action focus – Promoting Compassion in the Community – leads us to ensure that all our exchanges, dealings, connections, communications and interactions with people are imbued and influenced by the spirit of compassion.

Lenten Activities
In the Activity Guidelines, various proposals and suggestions – in the three categories of catechism students, youth groups and adult parishioners – have been presented to give us varied options to undertake focussed action and be actively involved in this Lenten exercise of renewal and transformation. While creating a greater awareness and understanding of Lent and its vital significance in Christian life, the activities also enable us to recognise and understand the realities in the communities around us.

Resource Kit
The Archdiocesan Office for Human Development (AOHD) has produced this Lenten Campaign Resource Kit to provide useful and relevant materials and guidelines for activities. We encourage you to use these resources provided, and/or to create other materials and resources that are appropriate and practical for your group or community. The resources available in the Kit also include linkages with social media, which are becoming increasingly popular in the community and among the young.

Enriching Quality of Life
Annually, as committed and vocation-minded Kingdom builders, let us individually and collectively make a difference in the community, especially to those who are vulnerable, marginalised and voiceless. The season of Lent is a conducive time to initiate or continue the process of renewal and transformation … by being Merciful Like the Father, and by promoting compassion in the community.

Wishing you a fruitful and empowering Lenten journey.

Rev. ALBET AROCKIASAMY
Director, Office for Human Development (AOHD)
Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur

“We can walk through many open doors of mercy, but if our heart is not open to works of mercy then all is vanity.”

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INTRODUCTION

You must do what the Word tells you and not just listen to it … Anyone who listens to the Word and … puts it into practice will be blessed in every undertaking. (James 1:22-25)

About the Lenten Campaign
The Lenten Campaign is a faith-based programme of the Catholic Church aimed at actively encouraging the faithful to be fully immersed in the three key Lenten practices of prayer (Mt. 6:6), fasting (Mt. 6:17) and almsgiving (Mt. 6:2). The desired result of these focussed practices and efforts is renewal and transformation. The vision of the Lenten Campaign is a Catholic community who are active and responsible co-operators of the Kingdom of God, while the mission of the Campaign is to actively and appropriately promote the spiritual observance of Lent through conscientious decisions and contemporary actions that result in renewal and transformation of the vocation of the individual Catholic and the Catholic community. In the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur, the Lenten Campaign programme, which is guided by and based on the social teachings of the Catholic Church, is conducted and organised by the Office for Human Development (AOHD).

About the Lenten Theme
For 2016, the main theme of the Lenten Campaign is MERCIFUL LIKE THE FATHER, and the accompanying action focus is Promoting Compassion in the Community. In order to facilitate active reflection on the Gospel readings of the six Sundays of Lent, weekly sub-themes are also given in the Weekly Reflection table.

About Lenten Resources
Lenten Campaign 2016 will be actively supported with appropriate resources, such as printed materials, video programme and presentation slides, for use in parishes and BECs. In addition, the Campaign will also promote the process of education and advocacy through the social media, and be disseminated on social networks so that the faithful would participate more actively and effectively through multiple platforms. The Lenten Campaign 2016 Kit has been specially prepared with materials and resources for Catholics, especially the young. These exercises and activities – aimed at renewal and transformation – are intended to be undertaken individually and/or in groups as appropriate. Lenten Campaign 2016 will be conducted in parishes, and also undertaken online for various participant groups such as Catechumens, Youth, Single Adults, Married Couples, Professionals, Senior Citizens and Migrant Groups.

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LENTEN CAMPAIGN 2016

Theme for 2016: Merciful Like the Father
Gospel Reference: Luke 6:36 (Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate.)
Action Focus for 2016: Promoting Compassion in the Community

Theme Rationale
The theme for Lenten Campaign 2016 is Merciful Like the Father. Our involvement and engagement with the Church and community must be influenced and flavoured by the value and principle of compassion, which is founded on God’s abundant mercy. In this way, our various engagements with the community – neighbourhood, BEC, colleagues, students, Church, public authorities, people in public spaces, offices, etc. – become extraordinary opportunities to show and express Christian compassion, and we become mirrors and witnesses of God’s mercy. We relate to every person with a compassionate approach regardless of their political affiliation, ethnic background, religion, culture and socio-economic situation. We work not only for justice and peace, but for justice and peace with compassion – as seen in the Gospels.

Gospel Anchor
The Gospel anchor reference for the theme is Luke 6:36, which reads as follows: “Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate.”

Action Focus
In line with the theme, the action focus for Lent 2016 is Promoting Compassion in the Community. Compassion is an essential quality that enables us to become fully human. When we show compassion to others, or have compassion shown us, we recognise God’s abundant mercy at work in and through the community that we live in. Compassion enriches and enables our family and community relationships when we are firmly anchored in the Good News of Jesus Christ. The touch of Compassion revitalises and renews us, and gives renewed life to our relationships – when we see and relate to others through the eyes of God. This action focus highlights the need for actively working to introduce compassion in all spheres of life: religious, social, political, economic, cultural and environmental. In other words, compassion becomes our way of life, a concrete expression of our spirituality. For Christians, compassion is a greater value and principle than fairness and equality. We do not exercise compassion selectively or preferentially, or for purposes of convenience – compassion must become an integral part of our Christian living and relationships – even, and especially, when faced with risks, challenges, struggles and obstacles. The theme and focus remind, assure and encourage us that the practice and promotion of compassion (in our relationships – permanent or temporary – and in the community) is a vital part of building God’s Kingdom. Lent is an appropriate and conducive season to start or continue the practice of compassion in the Church and in the community, and thus, we re-commit to manifest compassion in our relationships in the six main areas of our lives: Personal, Family, BEC, Workplace or School, Community and Nation.

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6 WEEKLY SUB-THEMES

Compassion as Criteria for Kingdom Living
Being Faithful Mirrors of God’s Mercy
Being Credible Witnesses to God’s mercy
Finding Joy & Hope in Being Compassionate
Giving Life Through Compassion
Making Compassion Our Way of Life

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RATIONALE FOR THEME LOGO

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The logo and the motto together is a fitting summary of what the Jubilee Year of Mercy is all about. The motto Merciful Like the Father (taken from Lk. 6:36) serves as an invitation to follow the merciful example of the Father who asks us not to judge or condemn but to forgive and to give love and forgiveness without measure (cf. Lk. 6:37-38).

The logo shows the Son having taken upon His shoulders the lost soul. The logo expresses the profound way in which the Good Shepherd touches the flesh of humanity and does so with a love that has the power to change our lives.

One particular feature is that while the Good Shepherd, in his great mercy, takes humanity upon Himself, His eyes are merged with those of man. Christ sees with the eyes of Adam, and Adam with the eyes of Christ. Every person discovers in Christ, the new Adam, his or her own humanity, and the future that lies ahead, contemplating, in His gaze, the love of the Father.

The scene is captured within the mandorla (the shape of an almond), and calls to mind the two natures of Christ, divine and human. The three concentric ovals, with colours progressively lighter as we move outward, suggest the movement of Christ who carries humanity out of the night of sin and death.

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