By Yadira Betances
---- — ANDOVER — During Lent, faithfuls depend on prayer, fasting and almsgiving to help them in their journey toward Easter.
Area churches and schools are assisting members in imparting their goods with others.
Students at St. Augustine School are collecting donations to help the Sisters of Notre Dame purchase water purification packets for their missions in rural areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria.
Money collected at St. Augustine School will also benefit Hogar Infantil, an orphanage sponsored by Augustinians in Tijuana, Mexico.
”Part of our mission is to follow in Jesus’ footsteps who was always reaching out to those in need,” said Mary Fergurson. “This is our way of imitating them.”
Fifth graders Sean Palmer and Katharyne Harrington, both of North Andover were more than eager to help.
“We’re learning that it is good to be kind to others,” Katharyne said.
Last year, the Sisters of Notre Dame partnered with Procter & Gamble makers of the packets and buy them at a reduced cost from an in-country P&G distributor.
Sisters of Notre Dame water purification packets in Third World countries. St. Augustine Parish in Andover, each grade in the religious education program has been assigned food items to provide Easter dinners and baskets to needy families through Lazarus House. Students will be collecting everything from canned corn, peas and string beans, packaged cornbread, cake and brownie as well as Easter candies, chocolate and Easter toys.
At St. Augustine Parish, students in the religious education program are working with Lazarus House, Inc. to provide Easter dinner and baskets to needy families. First through eighth graders and students in the confirmation classes have been assigned food items ranging from canned vegetables, rice, canned soup as well as Easter candy and toys.
The Religious Education classes in first to fifth grade at St. Michael’s parish in North Andover will be focusing on the children who go to Bread and Roses, a meal center in Lawrence. Students will collect packets of hot chocolate, mini marshmallows, school supplies including pencils, crayons, erasers, markers and glue sticks.
St. Robert Bellarmine in Andover is encouraging parishioners to donate items that reflect the Sunday’s readings. For example, the reading tomorrow is “One does not live on bread alone,” from Luke 4:1-13. Since bread is made from grain, members can bring pasta for Catholic Charities.
On Feb. 24, members are asked to bring soap for the New England Center for Homeless Veterans. That day’s reading from Luke 9:28-36 which reads, “His face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white.” Other suggested donations include formula, shelf-stable milk or honey for Neighbors in Need, Cereal for Tewksbury community Pantry, drink boxes for Bread and Roses in Lawrence and men’s or women’s shirt or sweater for Lazarus House.
Catholics also take part in the Rice Bowl, a faith formation program used in parishes, schools, religious education programs and at home. Members receive a box in which they place the money they would have been used for things they give up such as cigarettes, soft drinks or junk food.
Catholic Relief Services helps more than 100 million of the world’s poor each year. Nearly 13,000 parishes and schools across the United States participate in Rice Bowl each Lent. Twenty-five percent of donations go to hunger and poverty alleviation efforts in your own community. Seventy-five percent of donations support the agency’s humanitarian relief programs in 100 countries around the world.
For the past 16 years, Communities Together have held a diaper and underwear drive during its Wednesday Lenten services in Greater Lawrence. Diapers and underwear can be dropped off at Forest Street Union Church, Methuen, Feb. 20; West Parish, Andover, Feb. 27, Lawrence General Hospital, March 6; First Calvary Baptist, North Andover, March 13 and Rolling Ridge Conference Center, North Andover, March 20. The items collected are then donated to social service agencies in Lawrence and Haverhill.
Jews celebrate Purim with festival, merriment
Purim, a Jewish holy day celebrating Jewish salvation, begins Feb. 23 at sundown.
During the two-day festival, the Megillah, or the scroll of Esther is read, where the story is found in the Torah. In the story, Queen Esther persuades the king not to kill the Jews as planned by the king’s chief adviser Haman in 356 BCE (before the common era). Purim literally means “lots” because Haman chose the day to kill Jews by holding a lottery.
As the story is read in the synagogue, every time Haman’s name is mentioned during the reading, congregants stomp their feet and use noise makers called greggars to drown his name. As part of the celebration, members wear costumes depicting a theme or their favorite Purim character.
Temple Emanu-El in Haverhill chose “An Olde Fashioned Purim” as its theme this year. On Feb. 23, members can dress in their favorite old fashioned clothes or don their favorite Purim character, wether hero, heroine or villain.
Ballard Vale United, 23 Clark Road, Andover: The series “Immigration and the Bible: A Guide for Radical Welcome,” Sundays 9 a.m. through March 24. The Lenten study looks at the stories of immigrants and migration from Abraham and Sarah in Genesis to the Israelites who wondered in the desert for 40 years and Jesus who immigrated to Egypt as a baby.
Christ Church, 25 Central St., Andover: Carol Doran performs an organ recital Feb. 17 at 4:30 p.m., follow by a choral evensong sung by the parish choir at 5 p.m. The Rev. Phillbert Kalisa of REACH Rwanda is guest preacher. Lenten lectionary based bible study Sundays 9 to 9:45 beginning Feb. 17 through Palm Sunday. Members discuss “The Rich and the Rest of Us” Tuesdays in Lent at 6:30 p.m. Women’s Group discusses “Doubting Thomas Moments” Monday, 7:30-9 p.m.
Etz Hayim Synagogue, 1 Hood Road, Derry: The Interfaith Book Group reads “People of the Book,” by Geraldine Brooks tomorrow 10-11:30 a.m.
Faith Lutheran, 360 S. Main St., Andover: Midweek worship services will be held from noon to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26, and March 5, 12 and 19. A soup and sandwich lunch follows. Pastor Marsha Heydenreich leads a Bible study group on “The Old Testament in Matthew,” Wednesday from 10 to 11:30 a.m.
Forest Street Union Church, 15 Forest St., Methuen: Ecumenical service Feb. 20, noon, sponsored by Communities Together.
Free Christian, 31 Elm St., Andover: The Alpha Course is held Tuesdays from 6 to 8:30 p.m. until April 9.
Little Sisters of St. Francis, 8 Barnard Way, Danville: The sisters hold days of prayer for women March 23, April 13, Sept. 28 and Nov. 26; for men on May 18 and Oct. 19 and for married couples on Aug. 24 all from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For reservations, call 603-382-7490 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mary Queen of Peace of Sts. Mary and Joseph Parish, 200 Lawrence St., Salem: Lenten Mission, March 4 to 7 after the 6:30 p.m. Mass.
Merrimack College 315 Turnpike Street, North Andover: Michael Legaspi, philosophy and religious studies professor at Phillips Academy, Andover, speaks at the annual Cassiciacum Dialogue, Feb. 27, from 7 to 9 p.m. Cascia Hall. The program is named for Cassiciacum, a town near Milan, now known as Cassago Brianza, where St. Augustine held his first philosophical conversations and writings.
Our Lady of Good Council, 22 Plymouth St., Methuen: Colleen Braga, Elizabeth Friedrich and Natalie Slabczynski speak about their experience during their recent mission trip to the Dominican Republic, during the senior luncheon series, Feb. 22 at noon. Donations accepted.
Sacred Hearts, South Main Street, Bradford: “The Mystery of Liturgy and the Eucharist,” is this week’s theme of Lenten series on “Catholicism” Thursday 6:30 to 8 p.m. to March 14. The parish hosts the city wide youth Mass Feb. 24 at 5 p.m.
St. Andrew, 90 Broadway, Methuen: Members read “The Rich and the Rest of Us” as A study book will be use.
St. Augustine, 34 Essex St., Andover: Evening prayer using the liturgy of the hours begins Wednesday at 6:15 p.m. through May 15. Actress Olivia Woodford performs “The Heart of the Cross,” March 2 at 9:30 a.m. The play looks at the Passion of Jesus through the eyes of five women close to Jesus. Seventh grade students in the religious education program host a Taize prayer service March 4 at 6:30 p.m.
St. David Episcopal, 231 Main St., Salem: Course on basic Christianity is held every Sunday in February at 11:30 a.m.
St. Joseph of St. Mary and Joseph Parish, 33 Main St., Salem: The Rev. Marc montminy speaks on the practical approach to evangelization during the men’s and women’s breakfast Feb. 23. It begins with coffee at 7:30 a.m. The Rev. John Michalowski leads a workshop on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius now through June. Participants will pray 45 to 60 minutes a day over the assigned scripture passages or meditations from Ignatius’ exercises, then write their experience in a journal. The program, “Exploring the Catholic Faith” where participants reflect on the Sunday gospel and discuss it, continues Sundays, 7-8:30 p.m. through Easter. Lenten Mission, March 4 to 7 after the 7:15 a.m. Mass.
St. Joseph Cathedral, 145 Lowell St., Manchester: Bishop Peter Libasci preaches on the spiritual works of mercy during the Lenten mission Feb. 20, 27, March 6, 13 and 20 at 7 p.m.
St. Lucy, 254 Merrimack St., Methuen: Stations of the Cross Fridays at 5:30 p.m. followed by soup or pizza.
St. Matthew, 2 Searles Road, Windham: The story of the Rich Young Man from the gospel of Mark will be discussed during the mission on convertson, Feb. 22. Program begins with stations of the cross at 5:30 p.m., soup supper at 6 p.m. with video presentation, reflection and discussion. This week’s theme of the stations of the cross is “Praying the Stations with Pope John Paul II,” Feb. 22 at 5:30 p.m. Eyes on Jesus prayer group meets Feb. 23 at 5 p.m.
St. Michael, 196 Main St., North Andover: The Tuesday Bible study group explores the book of Revelation at 7:30 p.m. “Why Catholic?” a faith sharing group meets for six-week to explore the key tenets of the apostle’s creed with emphasis on the trinity, the incarnation and the paschal mystery. The Lenten mission, “Why Catholic: Believe, Profession of Faith” Wednesdays beginning Feb. 27 through April 10. The Lenten session of Women in God’s Spirit study, “Why Catholic,” Feb. 27 to April 10.
St. Patrick, 118 S. Broadway, Lawrence: “Life and Faith” adult faith formation series exploring part II of the Catechism of the Catholic Church will be held Feb. 21, March 14 and April 11, from 7-8:30, through April.
St. Paul Episcopal, 390 Main St., North Andover: The Women’s Book group reads “The Postmistress” by Sarah Blake, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m.
St. Thomas Aquinas, 26 Crystal Ave., Derry: Witness the sessions of Vatican II through video, listen to the reflections follow by discussion, Feb. 19 at noon.
South Church, 41 Central St., Andover: Mini series on the “I Am” statements of Jesus, tomorrow and Feb. 24 at 10:30 a.m.
Temple Emanuel, 7 Haggetts Pond Road, Andover: Cantor Idan Irelander leads a bar and bat mitzvah class for adults beginning Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. Participants will learn to read Hebrew, the history of music and chant the Torah trope or the musical phrase cantillation applied to sacred text during public readings. The book group discusses “Heatwave and Crazy Birds” by Gabriela Avigor-Rotem, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. led by Rabbi Miriam Phillips.
Trinitarian Congregational, 72 Elm St., North Andover: Pastor Rich Knight leads a Lenten Book Club on “Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife,” by Dr. Eben Alexander, Wednesdays during Lent at 10 a.m. or 7 p.m. beginning Feb. 20. To order a book or for more information call 978-686-4445 or email email@example.com.
Trinity Episcopal, 26 White St., Haverhill; The congregation hosts other Episcopal churches in the lower Merrimack Valley for soup and bread and a Lenten-themed program, Feb. 20 at 6 p.m.
West Parish, 129 Reservation Road, Andover: Lenten study using Marcus Borg’s book “Speaking Christian,” tomorrow at 9 a.m. Ecumenical Lenten service, Feb. 27 at noon. Sponsored by Communities Together.