Fr. Roger Lopez teaches Theology at Roger Bacon High School
This year, students in Theology classes at Roger Bacon will have a hard time escaping their Lenten resolutions. They’re as close as the screen on their iPad.
They can thank Provincial Minister Mark Soehner for that. He suggested to teacher Fr. Roger Lopez that kids write their Lenten ideas on index cards, take a picture with their iPad, and use it as their wallpaper – so it’s staring them in the face.
This week Mark outlined the idea during his homily for the Ash Wednesday service at Roger Bacon, even sharing his own index card and pledges. Roger loved the idea and made it a project for his 104 Theology students. “You’re reflecting at the beginning of Lent, and putting it down on paper” to revisit as the season unfolds.
Among the cards filled out and anonymously shared are the expected abstinence from things like soda, candy and video games, “but some of them put ‘Fasting from’ things like ‘pettiness’, ‘being negative’, ‘complaining to friends’ and ‘no biting nails and no extra sugar’,” Roger says. Their “Giving” intentions are downright inspiring: “Putting myself in others’ shoes”; “Be patient with people or things that annoy me”; “Be a better listener”; “Be more forgiving and trusting”.
Getting the message across has never been easy, as Roger will attest. “I do use the word ‘sacrifice’” in talking about Lent, he says, “and I think young people do not understand. Part of being young is selfishness. Part of Lent is to be a little selfish with ourselves, but it’s a ‘good’ selfish,” as in, “How do I need to change my life?” The answer: “I need to put others ahead of me, and that is a sacrifice. Any parent will say that’s something that has to be taught and encouraged and grown and formed.”
In Roger’s class, “We talk about Lent a lot, and students do a Lenten journal where they’re focusing on a different question. We talk about what penance is, not something we should be afraid of, but something we should run and embrace.” Unfortunately, words like “suffering” and “hurtful” are always associated with Lent. Kids need to realize, “Maybe it’s gotten a bad rap.”