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CTU Community Participating in Lent 4.5 Program

Join us as we begin on Ash Wednesday

March 3, 2011

Lent is a very important time in the Christian community.  Many of us begin Ash Wednesday praying and holding good intentions to do a little something “more” to cultivate our spiritual life and make the world a better place.  But forty days is a long time! And, when one is as busy as most of us are, it is quite easy to – little by little – lose sight of our promises. We need the support of one another to follow our deepest desires.

Thus, the entire CTU Community is joining together to support one another during the Lenten season by joining in Len4.5.  This seven-week program developed by the Passionist Earth and Spirit Center in Louisville, KY that will assist us in observing the traditional practices of prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and conversion, while focusing on the urgent needs of the world today.  As Pope Benedict XVI put it in his 2010 World Day of Peace Message:

"It is becoming more and more evident that the issue of environmental degredation challenges us to examine our lifestyle and the prevailing models of consumption and production … I call all believers to raise a fervent prayer to God, the all-powerful Creator and the Father of mercies, so that all men and women may take to heart the urgent appeal: If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation."

The program title Len4.5 comes from this reality:  “If the Earth were divided equally among all of us, each person would receive 4.5 acres. Now imagine that everything you need – food, energy, home, clothing, gadgets – must come from those 4.5 acres. But it takes 22.3 acres to maintain the average American lifestyle." There is a new way of observing Lent that helps us care for God’s creation by taking steps toward using only our fair share of its resources. Moving in the direction of 4.5 is important for anyone walking in the footsteps of Jesus today.  

During each of the seven weeks in the Len4.5 program we will focus on a different dimension of this reality, and pray to discover our particular call to conversion.  The topics are: Simplicity of Lifestyle, Food Security, Consumption Patterns, Water Scarcity, Energy Use, Transportation, and Gratitude and Generosity.   The CTU Community will reflect on these topics through:


The prayers of gratitude, penance, and quiet listening will lead us into thankfulness for the gift of life in all its forms. In the quiet we can hear God speaking to us through creation. 


We will discover renewed meanings for fasting and ways to abstain from habits and choices that harm God’s creation. We can do more than give up chocolate for Lent!


We will join in a renewed kind of almsgiving – making small but significant changes to our lifestyle that express care for creation by taking only our fair share of the Earth’s resources. 


With all Christians, we strive to walk more closely in the footsteps of Jesus who lived in right relationship with creation, others, and God.  God’s planet is being damaged and its gifts are not fairly shared. Now is the time for us to join in living more simply as a way of following Jesus today!

At the Ash Wednesday liturgy, March 9, members of the CTU Administration and the CTU Green Seminary Initiative Committee will distribute the Len† 4.5 program materials. Then, in the subsequent weeks of Lent, prayer opportunities that will be available Monday –Thursday in the 3rd Floor Atrium for students, staff, faculty, and friends of CTU.  Please click here to see the schedule for these events:


For more information on how your parish can participate in Len† 4.5 or order the program materials, go to this website:

Please join us!  We look forward to walking with you!         


By Dawn Nothwehr, O.S.F., Professor of Catholic Theological Ethics