The season of Lent begins on Wednesday which in the Church year is Ash Wednesday. It is a day of fasting and abstinence. Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of people as a reminder of human mortality and as a sign of repentance and contrition. Many Christians flock to Churches to receive ashes on this day as they initiate their Lenten journey. Lent is the time, approximating forty days, of reflection and penance leading up to Easter.
In an address focused on the Lenten season, as reported in the publication, “Catholic For Life”, Pope Francis stated,
“Let us not allow this season of grace to pass in vain!
Let us ask God to help us set out on a path of true conversion.
Let us leave behind our selfishness and self-absorption, and turn to Jesus’ Pasch.
Let us stand beside our brothers and sisters in need, sharing our spiritual and material goods with them.
In this way, by concretely welcoming Christ’s victory over sin and death into our lives,
we will also radiate its transforming power to all creation.”
As we reflect on these profound words of Pope Francis, we are invited to strive to unite our hearts to the Lord in a very substantive way. During this special time in the Church year, we can, therefore, turn to God and seek renewal in heart, mind, and body through the disciplines of Lent: prayer, almsgiving, and fasting if we are physically able.
As we begin our Lenten journey, we can respond to the challenge to truly turn away from sin and towards the living God. As disciples, we should admit that we are all sinners and need help in battling our temptations. We are encouraged to take Lent seriously, reflect on our own shortcomings and failures and guard against them. We should recognize the need to acknowledge our sins, not rationalize or excuse them, and avail ourselves of the Sacrament of Reconciliation as deemed appropriate. The Sacrament is not here to punish us but rather to get us closer to the God who loves us. It is here to heal, not to condemn.
A schedule of important dates, events, and liturgies during Lent and during Holy Week can be found on the Parish website. This schedule includes details concerning Stations of the Cross each Friday during the season. It also includes details of our upcoming Lenten Parish Mission.
We are invited to avail ourselves of this special time of grace as we prepare to celebrate the Easter Resurrection of Our Lord.