News

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP Launches Digital Lent Calendar And App

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
20 Feb 2015

Archbishop holding iPad with Lent Calendar

This year the Archdiocese of Sydney's social network xt3 has released it's digital Lent Calendar and App featuring a unique Indigenous Australian theme.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher launched the calendar and App on Ash Wednesday.

During the season of Lent, Xt3's Lent Calendar will provide daily inspiration through videos, podcasts and reflections, as well as beautiful images of our Catholic faith through the eyes and artworks of Indigenous Australians.

By working closely with the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC), the Xt3 team selected images from around the country that tell the Lenten story with an Indigenous Australian voice.

The Lent Calendar and App will also feature the Aboriginal Stations of the Cross series of artworks painted by Richard Campbell in 2001, which now adorn the walls of the Reconciliation Church at La Perouse in Sydney.

It will also include a special Easter message from the Archbishop.

Other content will include podcast reflections from various Australian consecrated men and women as we celebrate the Year for Consecrated Life, short video reflections from international author and speaker Fr Jacques Philippe on the topics of prayer and spiritual life, short Catechesis videos created by Xt3.com, reflections on saints' feast days, a narration of the Stations of the Cross by Australia's Missionaries of God's Love sisters, as well as a series of Youth Ministry videos, created especially for the Xt3 2015 Lent Calendar.

Xt3 will also be providing a number of Indigenous Australian-themed reflections including Saint John Paul II's speech to Aboriginal Australians, an interview with Indigenous Australian artist Shirley Purdie, notable for winning the 2007 Blake Prize for religious art, as well as a Good Friday video reflection featuring Richard Campbell's Aboriginal Stations of the Cross.

In 2014, Xt3's Lent Calendar App reached 9,309 downloads, and with this year's theme it is expected to be even more popular and will create wide-spread interest both in Australia and internationally.

On each day of Lent, a new image and reflection will be revealed on the Calendar.  The free App will continue to run for one week after Easter up to Divine Mercy Sunday, and will conclude with a World Youth Day 2016 feature as the youth of Australia begin their preparations for Krakow.

Lent calendar 2015

This is the Ash Wednesday reflection by the Archbishop of Sydney, the Most Rev Anthony Fisher:

Each Ash Wednesday the priest says "Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return", or similar words, marking an ashen cross on the person's forehead.

As a schoolboy, I remember feeling solemn and proud to receive that sign of my Catholic identity and to wear it for the rest of the day for all the world to see.

Friday abstinence from meat and fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday were additional tokens of our heroism and Catholic identity which our non-Catholic friends had to cope with if we were at dinner with them on Fridays! And there were extra) prayers like Stations of the Cross to do in Lent for the more earnest.

But are Ash Wednesday and Lent just about external show? No: Lent is first and foremost about turning back to God; saying we're sorry for what we've done wrong and resolving, with God's help, to do better. That's a rather private matter, invisible to the world. Ashes, fasting and the rest are tangible signs of that spiritual renewal.

Which is not to say we should give up on such Lenten practices: quite the opposite! Fasting, such as giving up meat on Fridays (or, dare I suggest, giving up sms-texting and Facebook for Lent!) disciplines the body and purifies the spirit, showing our unruly desires who's boss. In a sense, then, fasting brings us closer to ourselves.

Extra prayer, such as weekday Mass, and especially THE Lenten prayer, Confession, brings us closer to God.

Charitable giving, such as Project Compassion or visiting a lonely person, brings us closer to our neighbours.

So these Lenten practices are not just for external show: they bring us closer to our God, neighbours and selves and that allows a genuine, internal, spiritual renewal.

God bless you with a really fruitful Lent this year, so that come Easter you can rise from the tomb with Christ to new life!

To view Xt3's 2015 Lent Calendar, visit www.xt3.com/lent, or download the App by searching for "Xt3 Lent" in the Google Play or App store.