Women from St. Ann’s Parish offer unique reflection series for Lent

 MANLIUS — On Ash Wednesday, the first video in a new Lenten reflection series starring women from St. Ann’s Parish in Manlius was released on the parish’s website and YouTube

channel. The series, entitled “40/40-Lifegiving Words From Those Who Give Us Life,” features a collection of personal reflections based on daily scripture from different women in the parish. The idea for the series was suggested by Father Cliff Auth, pastor of St. Ann’s, who wanted to do a project based on Pope Francis’s description of “the feminine genius” from his book, The Joy of the Gospel. In the book, the pope speaks of the importance of the contribution of women to society and the Church and highlights their leadership through sensitivity, skills, strength and intuition.

   “Father Cliff came to our leadership team with what he called a ‘rough idea’ for doing a project on the feminine genius,” stated Cathy Weaver, communications coordinator for St. Ann’s. “He turned to us and said, ‘Let’s see what the women of St. Ann’s would like to do.’ The team discussed the idea of filming different women from the parish giving a personal reflection of scripture or the daily Gospel reading and we put out a sign-up list to see if there was interest. We immediately got enough women to tape the series without ever having to bang on any doors,” stated Weaver. The volunteers were women of all ages. Some, explained Weaver, had been in the parish less than a year while others were long-term parishioners. The mix of ages and backgrounds created an innovative series that could speak to all people from all walks of life.

   It was decided that ideally, each video would be between forty seconds and two minutes long to encourage maximum viewership. “Father Cliff felt that it was unrealistic in such a busy society to expect people to log on and watch a video that was longer than two minutes,” explained Weaver. “He wanted it to be short and simple; just a tidbit to start a person’s day and that’s what we did.”

   Volunteers were randomly assigned a day within the Lenten period and prepared ahead for taping by reading the daily scripture or Gospel for that day. The volunteers met with Weaver who coordinated the taping and the posting of the videos and was thrilled to see how each woman openly shared personal stories during the reflection. “It’s a lot like when members of a book club gather; the takeaway for each person is different,” explained Weaver. “Women spoke of their children, their marriages, their lives and their struggles. Many of the reflections were personal and all spoke words from the heart.”

   To view St. Ann’s Lenten reflection series, “40/40-Lifegiving Words From Those Who Give Us Life,” visit

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