Season of Lent - Everything you need for a more spiritual Lent

Lent is a time for renewal, for the whole church, for each community and for each believer. Above all, it is a time of Grace - Pope Francis


What is Lent?

Lent is the forty-day liturgical season of fasting, special prayer and almsgiving in preparation for Easter. The name "Lent" is from the Middle English Lenten and Anglo-Saxon Lenten, meaning spring; its more primitive ecclesiastical name was the "forty days," tessaracoste in Greek. The number "forty" is first noted in the Canons of Nicaea (A.D. 325), likely in imitation of Jesus' fast in the desert before His public ministry (with Old Testament precedent in Moses and Elijah). By the fourth century, in most of the West, it referred to six days' fast per week of six weeks (Sundays were excluded); in the seventh century the days from Ash Wednesday through the First Sunday were added to make the number forty.

Lent — Springtime of the Heart

The word Lent means springtime in an older form of English.  The Church is called to enter into a springtime of the heart.  This makes Lent a season for   lovers, people with a loving heart.  But isn’t Lent a time for fasting, praying, and almsgiving?  How do we connect those with springtime and a season for lovers.  Fasting makes us aware that we hunger.  But we are to connect our physical hunger with our spiritual life, allowing more space for our deepest hunger: God.  This leads us to prayer and almsgiving.  Prayer means giving God access to our hearts.  Almsgiving means allowing others access to our hearts, especially those in need, giving them not just from our financial resources but more of our time and attention.  Lent, then, becomes the school for forming ambassadors for Christ, allowing God to work through us to bring Christ to others.  To sum up: Lent is all about making more room in our heart, for God and for others.

What will your spiritual spring cleaning look like this Lent?  Let us be open during this Holy Season of Lent and allow the Lenten practice of prayer, fasting and almsgiving to help us prepare to celebrate the Paschal Mystery of our Faith. Blessings this Lent.

When are Lent and Easter in 2019?

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 6. 

Palm Sunday is April 14.

Holy Thursday is April 18.

Good Friday is April 19.

Holy Saturday is April 20.

Easter Sunday is April 11.

What is the Liturgical Calendar at St. Therese for Lent and Easter in 2019?

Saturdays 4:00 PM; Sundays 7:00, 9:00, 11:00 AM; 9:00 AM Monday - Saturday

Sacrament of Reconciliation: Saturdays 9:30 AM, 3:00 PM

Ash Wednesday: March 6 - 8:00, 10:00 AM, 4:00 PM

Stations of the Cross: Tuesdays at 2:00 PM

Lenten Penance Service: Monday, March 25 at 5:00 PM

Palm Sunday, April 14: 4:00 PM, 7:00, 9:00, 11:00 AM

Holy Thursday - April 18: Morning Prayer 9:00 AM; Mass - Lord’s Supper 6:00 PM

Good Friday - April 19: Morning Prayer 9:00 AM; The Lord’s Passion 3:00 PM

Holy Saturday - April 20: Morning Prayer 9:00 AM; Easter Vigil 8:30 PM

Easter Sunday - April 21: 7:00, 9:00, 11:00 AM

Join us at St. Therese for these special celebrations. 

Fasting and abstinence

Days of Abstinence: No meat can be eaten on Ash Wednesday and all of the Fridays during Lent. This applies to all Catholics 14 and older.

Days of Fast: Only one full meal is permitted on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday for Catholics between 18 and 59. Two smaller meals are permitted, but the small meals should not equal a second full meal. Drinking coffee, tea and water between meals is allowed. Snacks between meals are not allowed.

What are you doing for Lent this year?

Giving up something for Lent fosters self-discipline and tempers our desires. It is a form of fasting. It is a form of penance. It promotes spiritual growth. If you're giving up something for Lent, that's great. But think also about the possibility of doing something positive to bolster your spiritual life and make the world a better place. Look for ways that you can increase your knowledge of your faith, strengthen your spiritual life or perform special acts of mercy and kindness at home, at work, in your parish or in your community.

Practicing the Works of Mercy!

The Corporal Works of Mercy: Encountering Jesus means encountering him in all the places where he is, especially in the needy. Take a different corporal work of mercy each day and list ways that you could perform that act of mercy. Then decide on two — one as individuals, one as a family or among friends — that you will do, not just during the remaining Lenten season but throughout the year.

- Feed the hungry

 - Give drink to the thirsty

- Clothe the naked

- Shelter the homeless

- Visit the imprisoned

- Visit the sick

- Bury the dead

The Spiritual Works of Mercy: The spiritual works of mercy call us to be like the forgiving father, especially in “forgiving all injuries.” Talk about how you, as a family or among friends, live these merciful works. Decide together on some additional, concrete things you might do. Watch, too, for examples of the spiritual works of mercy in this Lenten season. 

- Admonish the sinner

- Instruct the ignorant

- Counsel the doubtful

- Comfort the sorrowful

- Bear wrongs patiently

- Forgive all injurie

- Pray for the living and the dead

Feasts of the Lenten Season

St. Patrick (385-461) - March 17: Patrick was born in Scotland. He was kidnapped in his youth and brought to Ireland as a slave, serving as a shepherd. In adulthood, he became a priest and returned to Ireland as another kind of shepherd - a bishop of the Church. He is the patron Saint of Ireland and is credited for establishing the Church there. 

St. Joseph (1st Century) -March 19: This solemnity honors Jesus’ earthly father and husband to Mary. Joseph was a righteous and just man, open to all that God wanted to do for him (Mt. 1:18). St. Joseph is the patron Saint of all workers, carpenters, fathers, and social justice. St. Joseph is a model of fatherhood and a protector of the Holy Family. 

Solemnity of The Annunciation of the Lord – March 25: We celebrate the appearance of the angel Gabriel to Mary to announce that she had been chosen to be the mother of the Savior. We also celebrate Mary's response: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done with me according to your words" (Lk. 1:38). Meditate on Luke 1:26-38, the Gospel for this day. 

The Stations of the Cross and Benediction

The Stations of the Cross will be prayed at 2:00 PM on all Tuesdays afternoon of Lent, beginning March 12th and concluding on April 16th. The Stations of the Cross started as a practice of pilgrims to Jerusalem who wanted to trace the steps of Jesus Christ to Calvary. Later, this practice was adapted for the sake of those who could not travel to Jerusalem. Eventually, it took the form we now know and can find in most Catholic Churches: 14 pictures along the walls of the sanctuary. The devotion can be prayed at any time, both individually or as a community, but its observance is especially fitting during Lent. They can be found on page 232 in Breaking Bread 2019.

Sacrament of Reconciliation

Lent is a time for renewal; the ideal time to make a good confession. Setting some time this Lent for repentance and prayer will enhance your celebration of the feast of Easter. Lent is a penitential time - an opportunity offered by the Church - calling each of us into the love and mercy of God. We open our hearts to recognize our faults and failings - not to discourage or condemn us or anything of that sort - but to bring us to the Lord for his healing mercy. 

- Saturdays at 9:30 AM and 3:00 PM.

- St. Therese will be celebrating our parish communal Lenten Penance Service on Monday, March 25, at 5:00 PM with several priests available.

Celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation this Lent. Make plans to celebrate this great Sacrament of God’s healing.

10 Tips for Making the Season of Lent more Meaningful

1. Slow Down - Set aside 10 minutes a day for silent prayer or meditation. It will revitalize your body and your spirit.

2. Attend daily Mass, the Stations of the Cross, celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation and God’s forgiveness.

3. Read a good book - You could choose the Bible, life of a saint, a Spiritual how-to, an inspirational book or one of the pope's books. 

4.  Be kind - Go out of your way to do something nice or special for someone else every day. 

5.  Get involved - Attend a Lenten lecture or spiritual program.

6. Volunteer at your parish - Whether it is the monthly dinner, 50/50 tickets or helping with the food drive, it will give you a chance to help others.

7. Reach out - Invite an inactive Catholic to come with you to receive ashes on Ash Wednesday.

8. Pray - Especially for people you don't like and for people who don't like you.

9. Tune out - Turn off the television and spend quality time talking with family members or friends. 

10. Clean out closets - Donate gently used items to the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

What almsgiving really means

Giving alms has always been an important part of Lent. For many people, it means giving money to Catholic charities or some other good cause. But the concept of almsgiving goes much deeper. It is our response to the teachings of Jesus that encourage us to reach out to people in need—not just with our money—but with our time and our talents. Today we might call it 'stewardship'.

Lent gives us the opportunity to cultivate a spirit of generosity. It gives us a chance to share what we have and who we are with other people. It puts us in communion with others and helps us understand that we are all members of the Body of Christ. Think carefully about how you will share your time, your talents and your treasure during Lent. Keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).

Lenten Prayer

Compassionate and powerful God, you have always guarded your people form the power of evil. You teach us to rely upon the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we enter this Lenten season of mercy - of prayer, fasting and giving. Make me more aware of how close you are when I struggle to do what is right and just. Fill me with your grace, that I might be strengthened to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Amen.