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Ash Wednesday ushers in observance of lent
Father Patrick Walker, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Manteca, makes the sign of the cross on the forehead of a little girl who attended the 2008 Ash Wednesday service with her grandmother. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

The sixth annual Eucharistic Adoration retreat at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Manteca will be held Saturday, March 14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This prayerful event, to be held in the church at 505 E. North St., is just one of the many opportunities being made available to all the faithful during the 40-day observance of lent which was ushered in by the distribution of ashes on Ash Wednesday.

This year’s retreat theme is “True Bread from Heaven.”

Scheduled to speak are Father Patrick Walker, pastor of St. Anthony, along with Father Benjamin Puente, former deacon of the parish who is now the associate pastor of St. Frances of Rome parish in Riverbank. Joining them as featured speakers will be St. Anthony’s deacon Jeff Vierra who also served as deacon for Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Lathrop, seminarian Jeff Wilson who is currently doing his pastoral year at St. Anthony’s, and parishioners Frank and Marilyn Penko who will share their personal testimony.

Lunch will be provided to all who attend. A free will offering will be collected.

Confession will be available during the retreat, which will conclude with Mass at 5 p.m.

Anyone interested in attending the retreat is asked to RSVP by calling Susan Morrisette at 825-0371.

Not all Catholic churches have Perpetual Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, which provides everyone an opportunity to spend quiet time with the Lord in the adoration chapel located behind the altar of the church. It is open to everyone Monday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., and to all regular adorers round the clock seven days a week except during Mass.

Other Lenten opportunities for prayer available at St. Anthony of Padua include a series of workshops on “prayer techniques” scheduled during all the Thursdays in March for anyone interested in deepening their faith. Below are the workshop dates and topics:

•    March 5 – Lexio Divino

•    March 12 – Centering Prayer

•    March 19 – Taize service

•    March 26 – Prayer journaling.

All sessions will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

For further details about the workshops, call Gerard Scheuermann at the parish office, 823-7197.