This week we begin the season of Lent, with Ash Wednesday. Masses will be at 12:05 pm and 6:30 pm.

Lent is a time of preparation for the celebration of Easter.  For 40 days we pray, fast and give alms, we go to confession, and seek to open our hearts more fully than ever before to come to know Christ, and to allow the power of His Resurrection to live within us.

Lent begins with Ash Wednesday. Our Masses for that day will be at 12:05 pm and 6:30 pm. During the Ash Wednesday Mass, we will each be signed with ashes and with the words, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” These words are intended to shock us, and to remind us that we are someday going to die. This body that we care so much about will pass away. But our souls, which we tend to neglect, will live forever. Ash Wednesday reminds us to take better care of our souls than our bodies. 

What are the rules of fasting and abstinence during Lent?

Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days when we are to both fast and to abstain from meat. The rules for fasting are that we are to eat only one full meal that day, and the food that we eat throughout the rest of the day should not add up to a full meal. All Catholics who are 14 and older are to abstain from meat on every Friday, and those 18 to 59 are to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. 

How is your prayer life? Do you have one? Does it need to be improved? Lent is a time to refocus our lives on our relationship with God. Most of us will want to pray more in some way. That may mean going to Mass sometime during the week, or praying the rosary or Chaplet of Divine Mercy, or some other devotion. Perhaps we will choose to read Scripture on a regular basis, or prayerfully read some other spiritual reading. 

Almsgiving means to give to the poor. Originally it refers to giving money to the needy, but it can include any acts of kindness and generosity for those in need. This can include visiting the sick and shut-ins or calling someone who needs to hear from someone or volunteering somewhere.

Fasting also refers to the Lenten tradition of giving something up. Learning to say no to ourselves is a way of training both our bodies and our spirits, to make sure that we remember that our souls matter more than our bodies.

Prayer, fasting and almsgiving. We should practice all of these during Lent.
–Fr. Mike Comer