Parish Activities in Lent
Lent is one of the five liturgical seasons of the church year. It is a forty-day period of preparation for the celebration of Easter. Lent is a time for all Catholics to prepare themselves to renew their Baptism Promises at Easter. Our promise is to renounce sin and to profess our faith in God. It is a time to examine our lives in the light of the teachings of the Lord, something which we should be doing at all times, but during the season of Lent the Lord grants special graces to those who seek Him once again. This is why we call this season the "holy season of Lent."
The Easter Duty
The Easter Duty is the obligation all Catholics have to prepare themselves for the celebration of Easter, which is the victory of the Lord Jesus Christ over sin and death. He died and rose again to save us from our sins and eternal death. He left us His Body and Blood and true food and drink and make the promise "Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise that person up on the last day," (John 6:54). Because this Gift is precious beyond price and of eternal value, holy Mother Church calls all her children, especially those who have been away, to return to the Lord, to taste and see how good is the Lord.
The Easter Duty is our obligation to receive Holy Communion at least once a year. This is to be done within the seasons of Lent or Easter. Our duty to confess our sins at least once a year follows from our obligation to prepare ourselves worthily for the reception of the Body and Blood of Jesus. The Easter Duty therefore consists of two things: confessing our sins and receiving Holy Communion at least once a year.
Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. Blessed ashes are placed on everyone's forehead in the form of a cross. "Remember, man, you are dust and to dust you will return," or "Turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel." Placing ashes in our foreheads is an act of penance and a sign of repentance. Ash Wednesday is also a day of Fasting and Abstaining.
Fast and Abstinence - Ash Wednesday and Good Friday
The Lenten regulations regarding fasting are as follows: All people from age 18 to age 59 are required to fast. This means one full meal for the day (and if necessary, two smaller meals maybe taken that do not equal the full meal). Fasting is required on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
Abstaining refers to not eating meat or chicken for the day. This applies to everyone from the age of 14 and up. We are called to abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays during Lent.
Fasting, Prayer and Almsgiving
Fasting, prayer and almsgiving are traditional penitential practices during Lent. These three "righteous deeds" are mentioned by the Lord in the Gospel of St. Matthew and that is read at the Mass on Ash Wednesday.
Fasting can take on many forms, it is not limited to food only. We can fast from many things: music, television, movies, video games, wasting time. We can focus our time on doing good or pursuing spiritual things. Fasting helps us to realize that we can do without material things for a while. It helps us to realize that the things of the spirit are the most important. When we hunger physically for food or material comforts we should remember that it is Jesus Christ for whom we should hunger.
Prayer is the lifting up of the mind and heart to God. We pray first, to adore God, expressing to Him our love and loyalty; second, to thank Him for His favors; third, to obtain from Him the pardon of our sins and the remission of their punishment; and fourth, to ask for graces and blessings for ourselves and others. There are two kinds of prayer: mental prayer and vocal prayer. During Lent we should make an extra effort and our prayer life. Our prayer to God should come as natural as our conversations with spouses, brothers and sisters and good friends. With them we have no trouble finding something to say, and yet with God, how often do we ignore prayer or only do it hastily and without true thought and feeling. Whether we practice mental prayer (raising our thoughts to God) or vocal prayer (raising our voices to God) prayer will bring us closer to God.
Almsgiving is charity. Giving some of our money to those in needs is a very powerful means of purification of our sins. "Give alms from what you have and, look, everything will be clean for you, (Lk. 11:41). "When you give alms, your left hand must not know what your right is doing: your almsgiving must be secret, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you, (Mt. 6:3-4). "Your prayers and charitable gifts have been accepted by God," (Acts 10:4). "Almsgiving saves from death and purges every kind of sin. Those who give alms have their fill of days," (Tobit 12:9). "Water puts out a blazing fire, almsgiving expiates sins. Whoever gives favors in return is mindful of the future; at the moment of falling, such a person will find support," (Ecclesiasticus 3:30-31).
Fasting, prayer and almsgiving are three traditional devotional practices which help us prepare properly for the celebration of Easter at the end of Lent.
Annual Parish Lenten Mission
March 4 - 8, 2018
"Springtime of the Spirit with Jesus"
Fr. Brian Mullady, O.P. will be presenting our Lenten Parish Mission this year. The Lenten Mission will be given from March 4 through March 8.
The Mission Talk will be given on Monday through Thursday, March 4 - 8 after a 10:30 a.m. Mass (the 8:00 a.m. daily Mass will be cancelled for the Parish Mission). The Mission Mass will also be celebrated at 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
[Note: Due to Confirmation Mass on Thursday, March 8, 2018 at 7:00 p.m., the Mission will conclude on Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m.]
Fr. Brian Thomas Becket Mullady is the son of an Air Force officer and was raised throughout the United States. He entered the Dominican Order in 1966 and was ordained in Oakland, California in 1972. He has been a parish priest, high school teacher, retreat master, mission preacher and university professor. He received his Doctorate in Sacred Theology (STD) from the Angelicum University in Rome, Italy and was professor there for six years. He has taught at several colleges and seminaries in the United States. He is currently a mission preacher and retreat master for the Western Dominican Province. He also teaches two months of the year at Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, CT. He has had twelve series on Mother Angelica's EWTN television network. He is the author of four books and numerous articles and writes the Answer column in Homiletic and Pastoral Review. He is also designed as an official Missionary of Mercy by Pope Francis for the Year of Mercy.
Fr. Mullady will be available for confessions after each of his talks.
Stations of the Cross
The practice of walking the Way of the Cross with Jesus dates back to the times when people could no longer make pilgrimages to the Holy Land and retrace the actual steps or "stations" which led the Lord to Calvary and the Cross. St. Francis of Assisi is credited with popularizing this devotion in its present form with fourteen stations. The faithful mediate on the suffering and passion of the Lord, seeking to share in a small but meaningful way in the sufferings of the Lord.
We will be praying the Stations of the Cross in the parish every Friday during Lent at 5:45 p.m. beginning Friday, February 16th. On Good Friday the Stations will be prayed at 12:00 noon. The Youth Group will pray the "Living Stations Outdoors" at 5:00 p.m.
Confessions are heard in our parish on Saturday afternoon from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. and after the daily 8:00 a.m. Mass. Confessions will also be heard every day after the Parish Mission (March 5 -7). Our annual Lenten Penance Service will be on Monday, March 19, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. The Lenten Penance Service will feature eight to ten priests from the vicariate. Click here for information on how to make a good confession.
Penance Service - March 19, 2018 - Monday
Our annual Lenten Penance Service will be on Monday, March 19, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. The Lenten Penance Service will have eight to ten priests from the vicariate available to hear individual confessions.
Lent and the Mass
In addition to the 8:00 a.m. daily Mass Monday through Friday, during the season of Lent, a 6:30 p.m. Mass Monday through Friday and a Saturday morning Mass will be added at 8:00 a.m.
Since Lent is a penitential season in preparation for the glorious season of Easter, there are changes in the celebration of holy Mass. The liturgical color for Lent is violet. Rose is used on the Fourth Sunday of Lent known at Laetare Sunday. The singing or saying of the Gloria and the Alleluia is omitted during Lent. Flowers and decorations at the altar are prohibited (except on feasts, solemnities and Laetare Sunday).
There are six weeks of Lent. The last week is known as Holy Week which begins with the Solemn Observance of Passion (Palm) Sunday. The season of Lent ends on Thursday morning of Holy Week. The Easter Triduum is a season of its own: Holy Thursday's Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper, the Passion of the Lord on Good Friday and the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday evening.