In Lent, we are reminded that this season offers us a new beginning. Pope Francis describes Lent as a “journey of spiritual renewal in the footsteps of Christ.” During this season, we are called to turn our hearts and minds back to God, to return to the Lord who offers us the gift of his merciful love. We are invited to deepen our spiritual life and re-examine the state of our souls. Lent is known as a season of conversion. But what does conversion mean and how can it be a lifelong journey?
Jesus began his public ministry with the words, “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). His first words were a call to conversion. For Jesus, we are all in need of repentance. We all need to recognize our failings and need to place our trust in God’s merciful love.
Conversion means changing the direction of your life and turning around to walk along the path of Christ. It is first and foremost a conversion of heart. God first touches our hearts and reveals to us his immense love. He invites us to recognize his faithfulness and our need for his forgiveness and mercy. It consists of turning away from those things that keep us from him and towards his loving embrace. It is an ongoing process. We need to continually open our hearts to receive God and allow him to transform us day by day.
Our worship environment will include the use of purple fabric (purple is the liturgical color of the Lenten season), lower lighting, bare branches, rocks and sand. During the Penitential Rite we pour sand into a vessel signifying and symbolizing our emptying ourselves of the things that keep us from hearing and responding to God’s calling us to “Come back to me”.
We need to open our hearts and minds and view the challenges each day brings as daily opportunities to follow Christ. Lent offers us the opportunity to reflect on the mysteries of our faith, to focus on penance, prayer, almsgiving and conversion. Perhaps, during these 40 days, we can spend time in prayer and Scripture. If your schedule permits attend a weekday 9:00 am Mass. We hope everyone can attend the Wednesday Evening Lenten Prayer Series or Friday Evening Stations of the Cross.
We can speak to God in silence and open our hearts to listen to him say, “Come back to me”. During this season more than ever we are all called to recognize the different ways we have turned away from God and try to return to him with all our hearts. Let us all prepare ourselves this Lenten season to encounter the Risen Lord on Easter Sunday by opening our hearts to God’s transformative power and receiving him with a humble and open heart.
Lent is the season which runs from Ash Wednesday until the Mass of the Lord's Supper exclusive.
Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of total fast and abstinence. The Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence.
In keeping with the spirit and meaning of the Lenten fast, Catholics are encouraged to observe the Good Friday fast through Holy Saturday and until the celebration of the Easter vigil.
The law of fasting binds persons from the completion of their 18th year to the beginning of their 60th year, i.e., from the day after their 18th birthday to the day after their 59th birthday.
The law of fasting allows only one full meal a day, but does not prohibit taking some food in the morning and evening, observing as far as quantity and quality are concerned, approved local custom. The order of meals is optional; i.e., the full meal may be taken in the evening instead of at midday. Also: 1) The quantity of food taken at the two lighter meals should not exceed the quantity taken at the full meal; 2) The drinking of ordinary liquids does not break the fast.
The law of abstinence binds persons from the completion of their 14th year, i.e., from the day after their 14th birthday throughout life.
The law of abstinence forbids the use of meat. It does not forbid the use of eggs, the products of milk or condiments made of animal fat. Also permissible are soups flavored with meat, meat gravy and sauces.
Pocket Prayer for Lent
You created us from the dust of the earth,
And breathed your own life into our very being.
You recreated us in Christ
through the waters of Baptism,
That we might share as a people your fullness of life.
Through these 40 days
May our fasting strengthen us
to seek your justice,
May our prayer lead us
to become makers of peace,
And may our sharing
quicken the seeds of your Reign,
Present in all human hearts, and growing in mystery,
As we await with joyful anticipation,
the resurrection of Jesus your Son.
We make this prayer to you in his name. Amen
Do you want to Fast this Lent?
Fast from hurting words and say kind words
Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude
Fast from anger and be filled with patience
Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope
Fast from worries and trust in God
Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity
Fast from pressures and be prayerful
Fast from bitterness and fill your heart with joy
Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others
Fast from grudges and be reconciled
Fast from words and be silent so you can listen
In this Time
O God of mercy,
who is slow to anger and rich in kindness,
grant us, as we continue our Lenten journey,
contrite hearts that long for reconciliation
and steadfast spirits that proclaim your love.
In this acceptable time,
soften our calloused hearts,
watch over us, and keep us from all sin.
In this season of repentance,
help us turn toward the light of your Son, Jesus Christ,
and away from selfish ambition.
In this period of renewal,
open our ears to hear your voice,
which calls us out of darkness,
so that with clean hearts we can forever proclaim your praise.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lent is a time to pause and step back from situations that lead to sin, a time to see how God is at work in others and in the world and, especially, a time to return to the Lord, knowing that his mercy is boundless. Lent is a time “to allow our hearts to beat once more in tune with the vibrant heart of Jesus.”
This is a day of new beginning,
Time to remember and move on,
Time to believe what love is bringing,
Laying to rest the pain that's gone.
For by the life and death of Jesus,
God's mighty Spirit, now as then,
Can make for us a world of difference,
As faith and hope are born again.
Then let us, with Spirit's daring,
Step from the past and leave behind
Our disappointment, guilt and grieving,
Seeking new paths, and sure to find.
Christ is alive, and goes before us
To show and share what love can do.
This is a day of new beginnings;
Our God is making all things new.
In faith we'll gather round the table
To taste and share what love can do.
This is a day of new beginnings;
Our God is making all things new.
Knowing the commands of the Christ,
let this be our way of life:
let us feed the hungry,
let us give the thirsty drink,
let us clothe the naked,
let us welcome strangers,
let us visit those in prison and the sick.
Then the judge of all will say even to us:
Come, you blessed of my Father,
inherit the realm prepared for you!
In these days of Lent, take time to sit quietly and listen to God. In a journal, write or draw what you hear and rest in the presence of God whose love knows no end.