The 2024 Lenten season began on
Ash Wednesday (February 14) and ends on
Holy Thursday (March 28)
What are you doing for Lent?
During Lent, we are asked to devote ourselves to seeking the Lord in PRAYER, to service by giving ALMS, and to sacrifice self-control through FASTING. Many know of the tradition of abstaining from meat on Friday during Lent, but we are also called to practice self-discipline and fast in other ways throughout the season. Contemplate the meaning and origins of the Lenten fasting tradition. In addition, the giving of alms is one way to share God’s gifts–not only through the distribution of money, but through the sharing of our time and talents. As St. John Chrysostom reminds us: “Not only to enable the poor in our goods is to to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2446).
For Lent, the Church gives us a slogan—Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving—as the three things we need to work on during the season. We have some activities at our parish and provide links to resources that may provide you assistance during this Lenten season:
IT’S A TIME OF PRAYER. Lent is essentially an act of prayer spread out over 40 days. As we pray, we go on a journey, one that hopefully brings us closer to Christ and leaves us changed by the encounter with him. Here are some suggestions to assist with prayer and devotions over the Lenten season:
- Spend some TIME each DAY in PRAYER. There are resources available for daily reflections at USCCB.org, EWTN.org, or Catholic Apostolate Center. Our sanctuary is also open every day from 8am-8pm for you to come and have private prayer.
- Attend DAILY MASS during Lent. Our parish celebrates Mass daily at 7:00am in the chapel (located to the right of the main doors of the church – behind Mary’s statue) and 8:00am on Saturdays.
- Attend a EUCHARISTIC HOLY HOUR offered every Friday from 6-7pm in our Church. Come and spend an hour in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in reflection and prayer. If you have never done this before, it’s a beautiful opportunity to sit quietly in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament and pray or read the bible or just speak to Jesus in quiet reflection. Confessions are also heard during the Holy Hour.
Attend our FORTY HOURS DEVOTION which is a special 40-hour period of continuous prayer made before the Blessed Sacrament in solemn exposition. Affirming our belief in the real presence of our Lord Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, the faithful gather for personal or public prayer in adoration of our Lord. All the faithful (adults and youth) are encouraged to sign up to watch and pray for at least one hour during this period (March 7-9). Visit https://hcscchurch.org/40-hours/ for more information and to sign up to pray.
- Attend the STATIONS OF THE CROSS offered every Friday at 7pm in our Church. The Stations of the Cross began as the practice of pious pilgrims to Jerusalem who would retrace the final journey of Jesus Christ to Calvary. Later, for the many who wanted to pass along the same route, but could not make the trip to Jerusalem, a practice developed that eventually took the form of the fourteen stations currently found in almost every church. Come and experience the journey with other parishioners.
IT’S A TIME OF FASTING AND TO WORK ON DISCIPLINE. With the fasts on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, meatless Fridays, and our personal disciplines interspersed, Lent is the only time many Catholics these days actually fast. And maybe that’s why it gets all the attention. Fasting is actually a form of penance, which helps us turn away from sin and toward Christ. For members of the Roman Catholic Church, the norms on fasting are obligatory from age 18 until age 59. When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal.
The 40 days of Lent are also a good time to work on personal discipline in general. Instead of giving something up, it can be doing something positive. “I’m going to exercise more. I’m going to pray more. I’m going to be nicer to my family, friends and coworkers.” Reflect on how you want to fast or work on discipline.
Also, remember to abstain from eating meat on Fridays. You can eat fish during meals.
IT’S A TIME FOR ALMSGIVING. The foundational call of Christians to charity is a frequent theme of the Gospels. During Lent, we are asked to focus more intently on “almsgiving,” which means donating money or goods to the poor and performing other acts of charity. As one of the three pillars of Lenten practice, almsgiving is “a witness to fraternal charity” and “a work of justice pleasing to God.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2462). Here are some suggestions for charitable giving this Lent:
- Participate in our parish’s LENTEN FOOD DRIVE FOR GHANA. Click here for details: Lenten Food Drive flyer 2024_
- Donate to the POOR BOXES located on the walls of the Church near the exits. The funds from these donations help provide food for our food pantry and other emergency assistance requests.
- Contact Catholic Charities DC for more opportunities to assist those in need.
Lastly, during Lent it is a good practice to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance) and ask for God’s mercy and grace as you begin your journey. Confessions are heard 1/2 hour before each Mass on the weekends (excepty Saturday 8am Mass) and each Friday during the Holy Hour from 6-7pm, and by request (call the rectory office at 202-546-1885 to see if clergy is available).