Next week we begin the Holy Season of Lent. Let us continue praying for each other. Last year I mentioned how I gave up cigarettes. It was easy. Because I don’t smoke. As we prepare to discern which sacrifice to make, it is always helpful to realize that we do this in the context of the Two Greatest Commandments. How will what we do, what we give up, help us grow in our love for God, and love for neighbour?
Please continue to pray for the three candidates preparing to be received into communion with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil, April 8. Our RCIA Sessions have begun, and this year we will celebrate in a special way with Bradley, Edgar, and Erin, and all their families, the specific rites at the different Sundays of Lent.
A reminder that Ash Wednesday is a universal day of fasting and abstinence from meat. This will be the last Sunday that we sing “Alleluia” until the Easter Vigil. And, the days during Lent are a time of penance for the Church around the world.
Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting and abstinence. Fasting means limiting what you eat and drink to one regular meal and two smaller meals (that together do not equal the regular meal in size). In the spirit of this, we typically also avoid any sweets or treats, like dessert or alcohol, and don’t snack between meals. Abstinence means to cut out particular food items or drinks, specifically meat.
If you are 14 or older, you must abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. If you are between the ages of 18 and 59, you must also fast on those days.
Fasting and abstinence isn’t a punishment for sin. Rather, it’s meant to help us practice our self control, and remind us to pray and put God before our own desires. We don’t fast and abstain because food is bad; rather, it’s because it’s so good that we voluntarily give it up for a day! It also brings to our hearts those who are starving. For most of us, this is not a reality we have personally faced. By experiencing even a small taste of their hunger, we are reminded to pray for them and to give generously of our own blessings to those in need.
During Lent, we are challenged by the Church to practice three “pillars”: Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving. Stay tuned in the next forty days for ways to grow in our faith.
- February 22, Ash Wednesday (St. Finnan’s Basilica)
- 8am: Daily Mass with distribution of Ashes
- 6:30pm Daily Mass with distribution of Ashes
- March 19-21: Lenten Retreat with Fr. Rob Arsenault
- Sacrament of Reconciliation before Daily Mass, Saturdays starting at 3:30pm, and by appointment.
- Daily Mass, from Tuesday to Friday, 8am
- Stations of the Cross (6pm) followed by Daily Mass (6:30pm) every Wednesday during Lent
- Eucharistic Adoration every Friday, until 4pm.
- Holy Week
- April 2, Palm Sunday (regular Saturday and Sunday Mass times, in each parish)
- April 6, 7pm, Holy Thursday (St. Finnan’s Basilica)
- April 7, 3pm, Good Friday (St. Finnan’s Basilica)
- April 8, 8pm, Easter Vigil (St. Finnan’s Basilica)
- April 9, Easter Sunday (regular Sunday Mass times, in each parish)