Lent is a season of remembering Jesus’ sacrifice. While Catholics anticipate Easter through the somber season of Lent, the 40-day holy season is not intended to be depressing.
“Joy in the Midst of it All,” the theme of the 2019 Annual African American Collaborative Lenten Revival, is designed to help Catholics across the Diocese of Cleveland move closer to Christ.
This year’s revival will be at 7 p.m. March 6-8 at Holy Spirit Parish, 4341 E. 131st St., Garfield Heights.
The revival, which is marking its 15th year, is organized by a collaborative of four African-American parishes. All Catholics are welcome to attend. The evenings of worship include praise dancing, musical arrangements, song and time for renewal of baptismal promises.
The three-night revival begins with Mass on Ash Wednesday, March 6 at Holy Spirit Parish. The celebration will feature more than 50 members of the diocesan Gospel Choir and revivalist Father Roy A. Lee from the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
Father Lee has a Ph.D. and is an adjunct professor at the University of St. Leo, where he teaches homiletics -- the art of preaching and writing sermons. He is involved in ministry to the homeless, prison and street ministry in the Atlanta area.
“This collaborative welcomes any Catholic to join as the Lenten journey begins,” said Cary Dabney, director for the diocesan office of ministry to African American Catholics. Together with the supporting parishes, he and affiliated diocesan organizations have spent months organizing the revival.
“As Catholics, we often toss the question out of what are we giving up for Lent. But what does that really mean?” Dabney asked.
“Lent is a time of reorienting. Each day of the revival provides new life, the power to overcome temptation and the ability to hear of the transformative power of God,” he added.
The collaborative African-American Lenten revival is one of the longest sustained gatherings in the diocese. What began as a community-building event to bring together parishes and strengthen ecumenical relations has now grown to national recognition.
“The revival reflects the diversity of what it means to be a Catholic Church that embraces the gifts of faith and culture in a community,” said Dabney.
Click here for event details, including the speaker reception on March 7 and the youth and young adult night on March 8.