|CU site provides guidance during Lent
March 4, 2006
BY ANGIE BRUNKOW
World-Herald Staff Writer
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER
Many Christians wear the smudge of black ash on the forehead, attend
midweek church services and give up things such as caffeine or chocolate
during the Lenten season.
But how else should they observe the season?
Creighton University, as part of its online ministry, has created a
series of Web pages called "Praying Lent." The site offers
resources for everything from a recipe for beans and rice to ideas for
how to make Lent more meaningful for children.
"We wanted to have a place where people could go for some kind
of daily prayer during Lent," said the Rev. Andy Alexander, a Jesuit
priest who is vice president for university ministry at Creighton. "We
wanted to give people a number of resources: how to get started, how
to prepare, how to help children, what does fasting and abstinence mean."
Creighton's online ministry began in 1998, but the "Praying Lent"
section is an example of its constant evolution. The ministry began
as something just for the university. Faculty and staff were asked to
each take a day writing a reflection on a daily scripture reading. Next
came an online retreat. The "Praying Lent" pages have been
one of the more recent additions.
"Lent is such a rich season, and it seemed that people were so
hungry for the daily reflection and other resources we had, we thought
maybe we can do something concrete," Alexander said. "We wrote
one piece and then another piece and then another piece."
Maureen McCann Waldron, who collaborated with Alexander on the project,
said: "It's like a house we started with one room, and it has become
this giant, wandering mansion."
Though initially designed for Creighton, the Web site has a global audience.
It receives 1.4 million hits a month from 125 countries around the world.
People living as far away as Saudi Arabia and as close as rural Nebraska
use the site.
The resources are designed to be concrete and practical. The site focuses
on everything from spring cleaning to working on your marriage during
It offers daily prayers, meditations and reflections. One especially
popular feature has been a guide about the Stations of the Cross.
Waldron, associate director of Creighton University's collaborative
ministry office, said the site is designed for busy people.
"At the time we put this together, I was thinking about someone
just like me," she said. "I'm married. I have kids. I know
it isn't always easy to bring spirituality into the middle of a very
busy family life. We wanted to give people the tools that I found I