Lent

The Lenten season is a 40 day journey of prayer, fasting, abstinence and sharing with those in need that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends at sundown on Holy Thursday. In the Church, we cover our statues during Lent to alert us of the special time we are entering. When we walk into church and notice everything is covered, we immediately know something is different and that this season is unlike all others throughout the year.
 
In Lent, the baptized are called to renew their baptismal commitment as others prepare to be baptized through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, a period of learning and discernment for individuals who have declared their desire to become Catholics.

We encourage all parishioners to adhere to the Lenten regulations of abstinence, fasting, and almsgiving by abstaining from meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent, fasting from behaviors that don’t serve us or God, and sharing our blessings with those less fortunate. To remind us of these goals, we suspend our Hospitality program after 10 am Masses.
 
In addition, we choose a parish-wide Almsgiving recipient. Past giving has included distributing fast food gift cards to needy people we encounter on the streets; St. Ann’s Mission; and Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos.
 

March 6, 2022 - Why I Love Lent


People are always surprised to learn that I love the Season of Lent.  That’s because most people associate Lent with “giving something up.”  So for them, Lent seems like a burden and can take on a somber or even depressing tone.  For me though, nothing could be further from the truth!


The readings during the Season of Lent are some of the richest of the entire liturgical year.  They challenge us to deepen our relationship with God and the people around us: our family, friends, classmates, co-workers and neighbors.  The Church takes her cue from the readings and suggests three ways of deepening those relationships and making the most of Lent: Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving.


Prayer is the way in which we come to know God and converse with him about our thoughts, feelings and desires.  Take time this Lent to spend a few minutes in prayer with God each day.  The best prayers are the ones that come from the heart.  So try starting a prayer journal and let God know what’s on your heart each day.  What are you grateful for?  What are you anxious about?  Who are you praying for and why?  Where do you want to experience God’s love and friendship in your life right now?  You might also want to take a look at the readings for Mass each day by visiting the www.usccb.org website.  There’s daily video reflections that accompany the readings, to help you pray and reflect on the readings.  


Fasting is where I think people most often go wrong during Lent.  Too often we give up chocolate or things we really like.  What’s the point in that?  Lent is about deepening our relationships with God and others.  So the things we should fast from are the things that are hindering those relationships.  What stops me from making time for God?  What are the things that I am too attached to that stop me from being more charitable or engaged with the people around me?  These are things to fast from!  By letting go of these idols, our relationships will improve dramatically.  One idea is that families fast from screens and devices one night a week and make it a family game night or a time to go out with friends or have people over.  Fast from the devices and invest in relationships!


Almsgiving is a way of remembering that our lives are not all about us.  As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to be men and women of relationship, to be attentive to the needs of our brothers and sisters around us, especially those living on the margins who have no one else to support them.  This can be done in a myriad of ways.  We always welcome volunteers to participate in our Don’s Helping Hands ministry, preparing and serving lunches to our neighbors in need.  You can sign up for a day and time slot on our parish website.

But almsgiving doesn’t always have to be about serving the poor.  It’s also about tending to the needs of the people right around us.  Maybe spending more time visiting with an elderly parent or grandparent.  Older siblings helping their younger siblings with homework or teaching them to play a new game.  Kids helping their parents around the house with chores, without being asked. Doing something nice and unexpected for our co-workers.  What are the needs of the people around you?  How can you use your gifts to be of service?


As you can see, all of these opportunities that the Church provides us through Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving should add to the richness of our spiritual lives.  And that’s why I love Lent!  When we give ourselves over to these practices, our relationships with God and the people around us will deepen and grow stronger. How can you not love that?  

 

Have a Blessed Lent,

Father Francis

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