The 2019 Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday, March 6th, for Latin-rite Catholics with Easter Sunday on April 21st.
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 sacrafice 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 this reflection. In addition, the giving of alms is one way to share God’s gfts–not only through the distribution of monet, 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)
During Lent, it is good practice to clebrate the sacrament of reconciliation (Penance) and ask for God’s mercy and grace as you begin your journey. The Light is On for You campaign runs throughout the Lenten season and every parish in the archdiocese participates by opening their doors every Wednesday in the evening to hear confessions. Our parish is open from 6:30-7:15PM every Wednesday during Lent. Just come into the sanctuary. Visit The Light is On for the location and times of other Churches in the archdiocese.
For Lent, the Church gives us almost 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 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:
- Spend some time each day in prayer. There are resources available for daily reflections at USCCB.org or EWTN.org. We also have a daily Lenten reflection link on our MyParish app. If you don’t have the parish app, visit the myparishapp.com and download to your mobile device.
- Attend DAILY MASS during Lent. Our parish offered daily weekday mass at 7:00am in the small chapel (to the right of the Church building) 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.
- Attend the STATIONS OF THE CROSS offered every Friday beginning 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.
- Attend our LENTEN SOUP & SCRIPTURE every Wednesday at 6:30PM in the rectory basement. Join other parishioners for a lite meal at 6:30pm with scripture and instruction at 7:00pm. Bring your bible!
- Attend our YOUNG ADULT BIBLE STUDY every Monday at 8:00pm in the rectory building.
IT’S A TIME OF FASTING AND TO WORK ON DISCIPLINE. With the fasts of 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 Latin 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 norms concerning abstinence from meat are binding upon members of the Latin Catholic Church from age 14 onwards.
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.
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 charitiable giving this Lent:
- Spend time SERVING MEALS to those in need at S.O.M.E. (So Others Might Eat) located at 71 -O Street, N.W. We serve meals every 4th Saturday of each month at SOME and we ask you to volunteer to come in and help serve the meals or prpare chicken to be used in casseroles. Contact the rectory office at 202-546-1885 or firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how you can help.
- 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.
- Contact Catholic Charities DC for more opportunities to assist those in need.