‘John 17’ Lenten mission returns

After a three-year COVID-19 absence, the “John 17” Lenten mission returns to Malone and Massena next week. Joseph Tosini, founding member and director of the John 17 Movement will return to the north country, along with Julia Torres from CHARIS — Catholic Charismatic Renewal International Service — a longtime friend and aide of Pope Francis. Bob Beckstead/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — After a three-year COVID-19 absence, the “John 17” Lenten mission returns to Malone and Massena next week.

The event will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Living Hope Church, 57 Rennie St., Malone, with Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg Bishop Terry R. LaValley in attendance. It then moves to First United Methodist Church, 189 Main St., Massena, at noon Wednesday; St. Mary’s Church, 9 Sycamore St., Massena, at 7 p.m. Wednesday; and New Testament Church, 265 Andrews St., Massena, at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Joseph Tosini, founding member and director of the John 17 Movement will return to the north country, along with Julia Torres from CHARIS — Catholic Charismatic Renewal International Service — a longtime friend and aide of Pope Francis.

John 17 refers to the chapter of the Gospel in which Jesus Christ prays during the Last Supper for believers to unite and display a love for all followers. The organization’s vision notes, “The John 17 Movement is a contagious call to all professing Christians to relate together properly, beckoning us to embrace the final prayer of Jesus.”

The Rev. Mark R. Reilly, pastor of St. Peter’s Parish in Massena said the Greater Massena Ministerial Association had presented the John 17 program in 2019 at three local churches, St. Mary’s, Emmanuel Congregational and New Testament. The association planned to bring it back in 2020, but COVID-19 struck and those plans were canceled.

“It was a great event. We had plans for 2020. We had great hopes of continuing to pick up that momentum,” he said.

The Rev. Reilly said the presentation is ecumenical.

“What they can expect is a mix of folks coming from a variety of different Christian traditions and backgrounds and denominations, and an opportunity to pray together, as well as an opportunity to hear a few different perspectives — Catholic, non-Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical — on a central part of what Jesus prayed for the night before His passion, which is His followers would be one,” he said.

The visit and presentation occurs as Lent continues toward Easter celebrations.

“That’s one of the reasons why we timed it for around now and why we did it back then. We’re calling it a Lenten mission. Not all, but for many, many Christians these 40 days leading up to Easter, it’s a time of penance and preparations for the great celebration of Easter and the events that happened right around that time — the Upper Room, the Lord’s Last Supper, the Good Friday Passion,” the Rev. Reilly said.

More information about the John 17 Movement can be found at www.john17movement.com.

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