Parishes prepare a Lenten tool box


By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger

Burlington — Tool boxes aren’t just for carpenters and handy persons anymore; persons attending a Lent retreat at St. Paul Church in Burlington will receive “A Tool Box for Lent.”

“It will get people in that mind set and give them some practical tools,” said Ruth Skeens, director of evangelization and adult faith formation for the Des Moines County Catholic Parishes.

The free retreat will take place Feb. 21 from 8 a.m. to noon. This is the first year Des Moines County Parishes — which include Ss. John & Paul Parish in Burlington, Ss. Mary and Patrick Parish in West Burl­ington, and St. Mary Parish in Dodgeville — have organized a Lent retreat. Skeens said the idea to host the retreat came about in response to feedback from members of the three parishes.
Coinciding with the first Saturday of Lent, the retreat will consist of talks by Skeens, Ss. John & Paul Parish members Jeff Pence and Jenny Berry, and Father Marty Goetz, pastor of Ss. John & Paul Parish. Topics include focus, prayer and ideas for navigating the Lenten journey.


At the beginning of the day, retreat-goers will receive a plastic “tool box,” which Skeens said is a little larger than a pencil box. Along the way, retreat-goers will receive “tools” to put in their boxes, as each item’s significance is explained. “They are more likely to use it if they fill it themselves,” Skeens said.

Some of the items include a book of Lenten meditations, a guide to confession, a rosary with instructions and a list of places to volunteer.

Skeens said she hopes those who attend will come away with tools to guide the Lenten experience and the ability to think about Lent in a different way. “It’s about the doing as well as the waiting.

Obviously we are waiting for Holy Week, but it’s more than that. We are called to pray, be of service to others and live out our Catholic faith.”

Deadline to register for the Lent retreat is Feb 18. To register, call (319) 752-8771 or (319) 572-0302 or email


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