Ash Wednesday, February 18, marks the beginning of Lent, which is “a Powerful season, a turning point that can foster change and conversion in each of us. We all need to improve, to change for the better. Lent helps us and thus we leave behind old habits and the lazy addiction to the evil that deceives and ensnares us. During the season of Lent, the Church issues two important invitations: to have a greater awareness of the redemptive work of Christ; and to live out one’s Baptism with deeper commitment.” (Pope Francis, General Audience. March 5, 2014)
Moreover, the Lenten season is a special opportunity to grow spiritually through other penitential practices, especially those of self -denial, alms giving, and through work of kindness and compassion.
The following regulations regarding fasting and abstinence are observed in the United States:
Catholics ages 14 and over are to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all Fridays of Lent.
Individuals between 18 and 59 are also obliged to fast eat one full meal on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Eating two smaller meals is permitted if necessary to maintain strength, but eating between meals should be avoided.
These obligations, however, do not apply to those whose health or ability to work would be seriously affected.
From Fr. Larry's Letter:
During Lent, these are some ways to help us grow stronger in our faith and our relationship to Jesus:
1. Try to go daily Mass at 7:30 a.m.
2. Attend the Stations of the Cross on the Friday evenings of Lent at 7:30 p.m.
3. Attend Father Larry’s Bible class on Monday mornings or Tuesday evenings.
4. Make a visit to the church during the day and spend some time in prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The church is open from 6a.m. until 5 p.m. Daily except on Sundays.
5. Contribute to the Rice Bowl Collection during Lent to help others around the world.
6. Pray the Rosary. Pray the Stations of the Cross in the church.
7. Work on trying to overcome some bad habits that might not please our loving God.
8. Abstain from meat on the Fridays of Lent.
9. Give up some pleasure that we can do without and offer it to God out of love for Him.
10. Be nice. Be happy. Be prayerful. Be loving. Be forgiving. Be caring and see if it helps to reduce our blood pressure, our stress and makes us feel good.