March 3, 2014
“The season of Lent is a preparation for the celebration of Easter..” (General Instruction of the Roman Missal)
Abstinence from meats is to be observed by all Catholics 14 years old and older on Ash Wednesday and on all the Fridays of Lent. Fasting is to be observed on Ash Wednesday by all Catholics who are 18 years of age but not yet 59. Those who are bound by this may take only one full meal. Two smaller meals are permitted if necessary to maintain strength according to one’s needs, but eating solid foods between meals is not permitted.
The special Paschal fast and abstinence are prescribed for Good Friday and encouraged for Holy Saturday.
This year, our parish almsgiving will benefit Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl. Money collected will support the work of Catholic Relief Services worldwide and to support local hunger alleviation efforts in our diocese.
In his 2008 Message for Lent. . . Pope Benedict XVI explained "In inviting us to consider almsgiving with a more profound gaze that transcends the purely material dimension, Scripture teaches us that there is more joy in giving than in receiving (Acts 20:35). When we do things out of love, we express the truth of our being; indeed, we have been created not for ourselves but for God and our brothers and sisters (2 Cor 5:15). Every time when, for love of God, we share our goods with our neighbor in need, we discover that the fullness of life comes from love and all is returned to us as a blessing in the form of peace, inner satisfaction and joy."
“(On) weekdays of Lent, we strongly recommend participation in daily Mass and self-imposed observances of fasting. In light of grave human needs which weigh on the Christian conscience in all seasons, we urge particularly during Lent, generosity to local, national and world programs of sharing of all things needed to translate our duty to penance into a means of implementing the right of the poor to their part of our abundance,” (U.S. Bishops statement on penitential observances, 1966)
By the threefold discipline of fasting, almsgiving and prayer the church keeps Lent from Ash Wednesday until the evening of Holy Thursday. All of the faithful and the catechumens should undertake serious practice of these three traditions. Failure to observe penitential days totally or a substantial number of such days must be considered serious.