HAINES CITY  |  Preparing for Lent in a pandemic can be challenging when all of your students and catechists are operating virtually. Linda Dizon, director of Religious Education at St. Ann Parish in Haines City, was up to the task.

Desiring to provide something that would include physical participation by students, parents and catechists, Dizon developed a five-week Lenten video series, “A Penance for Your Thoughts.”

“I love the idea of evangelization with every means you can,” Dizon said. Seeking another way to evangelize she decided to create the video series physically involving her parish catechetical family, as “instruments for the Lord.”

Catechists and parents served as lectors while students joined in song. Readings, songs, and reflections were pre-recorded. Dizon learned how to edit the video and put together the series. She said including everyone “gave them a sense of ownership and belonging to the parish.”

Readings are based on each Sunday of Lent. The goal is reflection on Lenten Gospel readings, to listen to the Word of the Lord and feature personal reflections. She hopes it is “an invitation for viewers to have their own reflections, giving them a deeper experience” during their Lenten journey. Each segment runs 10-15 minutes. Dizon noted they are “brief, but substantive” in message.

Dizon brings her own experiences to life in the reflections. For example, when speaking on Jesus in the wilderness, she recalled evenings in the desert when she lived in the Middle East. She shared the responsibility with Tammy Higgins, coordinator of RCIA, to make a memorable series.

“I am so happy that Linda thought to create these videos for the people of her parish, especially the children in catechesis,” said Daniel Boyd, director of the Secretariat for Laity, Family, and Life. “Lent is a season of grace and growth if we welcome God into our lives. Being open to him is the result of giving Him time in prayer and trusting in His plan for us.” He noted creating the videos for her community, “Linda is able to respond to the unique needs of the people in her parish and present the Gospel is a way that she knows will resonate with them. I hope that more people will step out in confidence to create resources like this.”

“A Penance for Your Thoughts” began Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, and continues through the fifth Sunday of Lent. Videos are available at www.stannhc.org and on the parish Facebook page.