Communities of Faith of the Ecumenical Catholic Church live the Lenten and Easter Journey around the world.

* Fasting

* Prayer

* Caring for the poor

* Celebrating the Power of Life over Death

Are these not the messages that bind catholics together? Are these not the messages that define these seasons? They are the messages that unite our Communities of Faith whose Christ-centric celebration of the Eucharist lives the Body and Blood of Christ.

The Old Testament prophet tells us that true fasting is to abstain from acts of injustice and to drink only from the everflowing waters of justice. In our world of migrants displaced by wars and economic inequalities, how can we only be satisfied with helping the refugee and not denouncing the systems that créate them? We cannot ask the poor and hungry to fast in traditional ways. How can we ask the hungry not to eat when they do not have food?

Our lives need to become lives of peace and reconciliation, lives of constant prayer. Dietrich Bonhoeffer tells us that as we pray for the person who is against us, we find an energy between us that unites us. We pray for our enemies so our hearts are cleansed from resentment and decay. We learn to embrace the one who is against us so that the powers of hatred can be reduced and human intimacy restored.

Yes, we give lunches to migrants and to poor families gathered under trees on cold evenings waiting outside of hospitals for loved ones to heal. We give clothing and blankets to those who are cold. We provide homes for the orphans of war and HIV/AIDS. We receive ex-prisoners into our communities so they can recover. But is that enough? We also need to work for systems at the local, national and international levels that prevent hunger, homelessness, HIV/AIDS and war. Our communities of faith cannot just be used by governments to mop up their mistakes and carelessness. We must, like the Old Testament schools of prophets, be the voices that denounce inhuman systems. From protecting our environment to challenging patterns of development that create war and inequality, our voices are being heard around the world.

These Lenten disciplines do no end on Good Friday. They take us through the Suffering on the Cross into the joy of a new day, to Easter. We know that we live in the Suffering of Christ because we, like Jesus, have dared to love. In loving there is suffering, as theology of the cross teaches us. We know that Easter follows Good Friday. We know that the power of Life overcomes the power of death. Our communities of faith gather to celebrate Life in all its forms. Planting

seeds produces new growth, new Life. We celebrate that! We celebrate the new beginnings that recently diagnosed persons with HIV/AIDS can Live. We celebrate the smiles on the faces of the migrants who discover Life on the backs of trains taking them north or boats floating them to safety. We celebrate the new Life of a prisoner who overcomes his propensity to domestic violence and relates differently to his spouse. Yes, we gather with those who mourn the loss of Life as they seek to reaffirm Life in the shapeless bodies of a loved one.

We invite you to find a Community of Faith where you can live and celebrate the Lenten-Easter journey year round. A disciplined faith opens us to Life in abundance.