Meditating over Lenten texts

Looking for a simpler way to grow during Lent without adding another spiritual book to your reading list? The diocesan Office for Family Life has developed the digital campaign “40Days40Ways,” a daily text message that includes a reflection and a challenge.

After texting “ways” to 84576, people will receive daily texts from Ash Wednesday to the day before Palm Sunday. Each text features a challenge and a link to a reflection inspired from the fourth chapter of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, “Amoris Laetitia.” 

"(It's about) how to live out sacrificial love in the family. Treating your neighbor well begins in your family." Thérèse Bermpohl

When Thérèse Bermpohl, director of the Office for Family Life, read “Amoris Laetitia” she was struck by the fourth chapter’s dissection of St. Paul’s famous letter to the Corinthians — “Love is patient, love is kind …”

“(It’s about) how to live out sacrificial love in the family,” she said. “Treating your neighbor well begins in your family.”

The campaign operates through Flocknote, a Catholic resource that churches and organizations use for newsletters and text messaging. Bermpohl and Catholic Charities intern William McKenna created 40 challenges paired with citations from the papal document. Even though St. Paul’s letter is often associated with married couples, the challenges are inclusive. 

Day 27 focuses on your spouse or another family member. “Share the top 10 things you admire about them.”

Bermpohl wanted to share the insight of Pope Francis’ modern perspective of St. Paul’s letter in an easy and practical way. Aristotle called humans creatures of habit, and Bermpohl felt Lent was an opportune time to prompt people to start a new habit, through a text a day.

CONNOR BERGERON  |  CATHOLIC HERALD“We’re a mobile-first generation,” she said. “Most people get their information from their phone, and we want to reach as many people as possible.” Especially millennials, she said. The Office for Family Life hopes to gain traction on social media from posting challenges. For those wanting to “fast” from their phones and Facebook this Lent, “40Days40Ways” also will be available via email. 

Bermpohl hopes their first digital campaign will prove to be a successful avenue for the future. 

“Reminding each other of our (good) qualities and losing negativity,” she said. “That’s going to change the family and change the world; it’s when we start acting like Christ.” 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017