This Lenten season ANCOP Canada in Edmonton spearheaded 40 Days of Lent, a gift giving initiative to raise funds for ANCOP at the same time to provide people including children a profound way to practice the true essence of Lent – prayer, sacrifice, and self-giving.
40 Days of Lent is a daily monetary offering for the poor using a one-page 40-day calendar starting with Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday. The calendar is printed on double Bristol board. Each day has a cut out slot thru which a coin or a paper bill can be inserted, and each day is assigned scripture passages and a prayer depicting the day’s theme.
As the donor inserts a monetary offering daily for forty days, he or she is encouraged to read and reflect on the bible passages and end with the prayer.
This practice helps the donor make a personal effort to be enriched and renewed in faith while doing an act of charity. One such example is on March 6 the readings were Isaiah 1:10; 16-20 and Matthew 23:1-12; the theme was Humility, and the day’s prayer was “I will serve with a humble heart.”
The calendar presents a new dimension to gift giving. It offers a daily commitment to prayer as well as to give time, talent and treasure for the poor and for the glory of God.
Each day the heart is led to give and reminded to be grateful.
The whole concept began in 2012 when Nap and Elly Llanos, leaders of Couples for Christ (CFC) in Edmonton and former ANCOP Area Coordinators of Edmonton, Regina and Yellowknife, devised the 40 Days of Lent calendar to make observance of Lent more meaningful. This started with CFC members in Edmonton and slowly involved more people outside the CFC community and on to other areas.
For Rey Diaz, Migrant Workers Ministry Head, it is a win-win situation. “It is a chance to go on a personal retreat and channel my meditation purposely and still able to contribute to building a home for the poor and the needy,” he shared.
On its third year in 2014, 40 Days of Lent gathered more than $4,000.00 in donations. The amount was enough to sustain the annual tuition of 9 students sponsored by CFC ANCOP Edmonton in the Philippines, Ghana, and India.
“The 2015 report is not yet in but we predict a sharp leap in figures,” says Don Villaflor, current Area Head for Couples for Christ Edmonton.
For the experience to last, CFC ANCOP Edmonton plans to adopt the concept for Christmas and other gift giving occasions. This will greatly help build funds for its shelter and child sponsorships projects. To date, more than 60 houses were built for poor families through its help.
Contributor: Marizza Diaz, CFC ANCOP Edmonton