Dear friends in Christ,
The season of Lent is already upon us; tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. We will have five Ash Wednesday liturgies:
- 8:00 am
- 12:00 noon
- 5:30 pm
- 7:00 pm
- 9:00 pm
Please note: only the 9:00 pm is a Mass; the others are a Liturgy of the Word with the distribution of ashes.
Ash Wednesday, along with Good Friday, is a day of fasting and abstinence. Here is how the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have defined fasting: eating no more than one full meal and two smaller meals which together do not equal a full meal. Fasting is for all Catholics ages 14 through 59; it is voluntary for those older or younger.
Abstinence applies also to all Fridays in Lent (and technically to all Fridays throughout Ordinary Time and Advent as well). This means refraining from eating meat. This is for anyone age 14 and up. If you already do not eat meat, then I would suggest abstaining from something else that you normally enjoy.
In addition, Lent is a penitential season in which we should be more intentional than usual about prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. It is the perfect time to renew one’s daily prayer, perhaps to add a special prayer, do a little extra reading of Scripture or a good religious book. Fasting is usually understood as “giving something up” – something that would be a genuine sacrifice. And almsgiving of course means sharing one’s resources with the Church, the poor, and those in need.
The purpose of all of this – abstinence, prayer, fasting, almsgiving, etc. – is not for the sake of taking the fun out of life, but rather so that we might prepare ourselves spiritually for the coming celebration of the Resurrection of the Lord on Easter Sunday (also in preparation for our own death and resurrection). So whatever you choose to do this Lent, do it first and foremost out of love for Our Lord Jesus Christ who suffered and died for our salvation. When you feel a pang of hunger on one of the days of fasting, offer it up to Our Lord out of love for him and for anyone who might be hungry without choosing it.
Here are some good Lenten resources you might consider in order to grow closer to the Lord this Lent:
- Formed: https://stlukegvsu.formed.org
Access code: 7BPKX7
- Create your own account
Please also note that the Sacrament of Reconciliation is available at these times:
- Tues-Fri 5:00-5:30 pm
- Tues 6:00-8:00 pm
- Sat 9:00-9:30 am
And we have Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament (Eucharistic Adoration) from 6:00-9:00 pm on Tuesdays, and Stations of the Cross at 6:00 pm on Fridays during Lent.
May you have a blessed and peaceful Lent