Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of our Lenten journey. The Catholic Church observes Lent from Ash Wednesday until the evening Mass
on Holy Thursday, which is when the Paschal Triduum begins. All Catholics, as well as our catechumens, are called to practice the traditions of Lent.
Catholics, ages 14 and older, are to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays during Lent. This rule does not apply when health or ability to work would be seriously
impacted. The purpose of abstaining is to mark an act of penance, an act of sacrifice that helps us grow in our faith to be able to make much bigger sacrifices. Many people eat a vegetarian diet for a variety of reasons, so that abstaining from meat is not an issue. Perhaps it would be possible for these people to abstain from a meal that they really like instead. Many people cannot afford to eat meat or their favorite meal, or do not have access to it. Therefore, our
abstaining can place us in solidarity with our sisters and brothers around the world who are in need.
In addition, Catholics who have celebrated their 18th birthday but have not yet marked their 59th, are to fast on Ash Wednesday and on Good Friday. On these days, fasting means something very specific and limited. It means that one eats only one full meal in a day, with no food in between meals.
It is understood that two other meals, if one eats three meals a day, should not total one full meal. It is also important to note that all who fast should drink enough fluids
What about "giving up" something for Lent?
What would help me grow in my faith? That's the question to ask ourselves. It could be committing ourselves to give up judging oth
ers. Or giving up a bad habit. The answer may be not to give up something but to add something to our daily lives during Lent. Like committing ourselves to extra prayer time. Or deciding to do some service to the poor once a week during Lent. We can increase our almsgiving to the needy - perhaps related to something we choose not to do. For example, we might give the money we would spend on a restaurant meal to t
he poor and forego eating out that week.
Whether it is fasting, abstaining or other acts of penance, we should yearn with all our hearts to use these means to help us grow closer to our Lord, and prepare ourselves for Easter.
May our Lord bless us all on our Lenten journey.
Monday through Friday at 8AM
STATIONS OF THE CROSS
Fridays at 11:30AM
followed by Lenten Soup at noon in Tetu Hall