LENT is coming! Lent IS coming! Lent is COMING!

01-28-2018From Our PastorFr. Brian Jazdzewski

For many of us, the passage of Christmas seems so long ago. For many of us, the passage of Christmas seems to just have happened. While all of those memories simmer in our minds, we come to the reality that Lent will quickly be upon us. Further, the celebration of Easter comes to our lives on the first day of April. So, rather than anticipating Easter, we participate in the times among us. We concentrate on these days of Ordinary Time which help us transition to the upcoming observance of Lent.

We are aware that Lent begins with the observance of Ash Wednesday. In God's diving providence, Ash Wednesday is also Valentine's Day (so plan accordingly). Once again, I recommend taking your Valentine to the Mardi Gras celebration at Danzinger Vineyard on the last Sunday before Lent. Anyway, with Lent quickly coming into our view and so we might consider some remote preparation for Lent which, in turn, prepares us for the celebration of the Lord's Resurrection at Easter.

The Season of Lent is about prayer, fasting and almsgiving. By way of reminder, here are the official regulations regarding fasting and abstaining during some of the Lenten meals.

Lenten Regulations

The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 14. Lenten regulations are as follows:

  1. Catholics who have celebrated their 14th birthday are to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, all Fridays in Lent, and Good Friday.
  2. In addition to abstaining from meat, Catholics who have celebrated their 18th birthday, until they celebrate their 59th birthday, are too fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Those who are bound to this regulation may eat 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.

Additionally, we will give communal consideration to possible ways to give alms. One of the ways will be the Mite boxes which benefit Santa Cruz, Boliva, in honor of Fr. Ed's accomplishments and legacy. There are many needs in the parish and chapels, the school of over 2,000 students and the home for the elderly. Another local way is to participate in the Soup and Sandwich events at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Fountain City. The concept is to donate money you would normally spend on a meal so the PCCW can provide charitable contributions to local and regional causes. And, perhaps there are other ways God may be inspiring you to give alms this Lent.

Thirdly, the acts of prayer during Lent. I really want to encourage you to take this aspect of Lent seriously this year, and always. Our relationship with our Trinitarian God is essential to our personal survival here and in the world yet to come. Within the Lenten discipline of prayer, I'd really like for you to be intentional with what you do at home, or in church to embrace a prayerful attitude. We will be providing some unique prayer possibilities here; be alert for more details.

Overall, prayer, fasting and almsgiving are not intended to make our lives miserable for 40 days before Easter. We are, however, invited to embrace the sense of sacrifice through our prayer, fasting and almsgiving. The attitude of sacrifice is what we develop so that when temptations come our way we find it just a little easier to resist those temptations. In turn, we grow in virtue and confidence that God will protect us and provide for our needs.

Within these next several short weeks, please take some intentional time of reflection upon the upcoming season of Lent and your deepening commitment to be immersed in the spirit of the season. Further, pray for one another that the spiritual renewal we experience will help us renew our families and communities. Few could argue against the reality that values in our culture are eroding quickly. Contrary to that, many could argue that through pain and suffering we become stronger in the Lord because we rely more upon Him. Particularly, the Church has been strengthened through periods of difficulty. Whether our challenges are brought on from our own choosing, or as a consequence of our culture, we, as people of faith are to find God in all things. While we pray for one another, we continue to invite God's presence into our ordinary daily activities.