Lent begins on Wednesday, March 5 with the celebration and distribution of Ashes. In the Roman Catholic Church, Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, the season of preparation for the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. Ash Wednesday always falls 46 days before Easter. Since Easter falls on a different date each year While Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation, all Roman Catholics are encouraged to attend Mass on this day in order to mark the beginning of the Lenten season.
During Mass, the ashes which give Ash Wednesday its name are distributed. The ashes are made by burning the blessed palms. After the priest blesses the ashes and sprinkles them with holy water, the faithful come forward to receive them. The minister dips his right thumb in the ashes and, making the Sign of the Cross on each person's forehead, says, " Repent and believe in the Gospel. ” The distribution of ashes reminds us of our own mortality and calls us to repentance The ashes that we receive are a reminder of our own sinfulness, and many Catholics leave them on their foreheads all day as a sign of humility.
Fasting and Abstinence Are Required
The Church emphasizes the penitential nature of Ash Wednesday & Good Friday by calling us to fast and abstain from meat. Catholics who are over the age of 18 and under the age of 60 are required to fast, which means that they can eat only one complete meal and two smaller ones during the day, with no food in between. Catholics who are over the age of 14 are required to refrain from eating any meat, or any food made with meat, on Ash Wednesday. This fasting and abstinence is not simply a form of penance, however; it is also a call for us to take stock of our spiritual lives. As Lent begins, we should set specific spiritual goals we would like to reach before Easter and decide how we will pursue them—for instance, by going to daily Mass when we can and receiving the Sacrament of Confession more often. See our full schedule of Lenten activities.
How can YOU make Lent meaningful?
Ash Wednesday – 8:30 AM Morning Prayer with the Distribution of Ashes
Mass at 12:05 PM in the Church with the Distribution of Ashes
Lenten Activities for 2014
Daily Mass in Corr Chapel 12:05 PM—Monday through Friday & 5:30 PM beginning Monday March 10. Every Thursday at 12:10 PM in the Law School Chapel.
Sunday Masses are at 5:30, 7:00 and 9:00 PM in the church.
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament Monday, Wednesday, Friday in the Monastery Chapel from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM. Monday 3/10, 3/24, 4/7 and Thursdays—3/20 & 4/3 after the 5:30 PM with Benediction at 8:30 PM in Corr Chapel.
Rosary each weekday at 5:00 PM in Corr Chapel
Sacrament of Reconciliation Every Tuesday & Wednesday at 3:30 to 4:30 PM and every Wednesday evening during Lent from 6:30 to 7:30 PM in the Church or by appointment in Campus Ministry beginning March 12.
Stations of the Cross every Wednesday during Lent at 7:30 PM in the Church beginning March 12 – April 2 we will celebrate the Living Stations of Cross by John Paul II beginning at 7:00 PM on the Church Steps.
In the spirit of St. Augustine who urged his followers to search for God together, consider next Sunday's readings which repeatedly call us to holiness. Yet, in what does holiness consist? The first reading from Leviticus tells us “You shall not bear hatred for your brother in your heart…Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against anyone.” Then in the gospel we hear the familiar commands, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Are these commandments describing what holiness looks like? Perhaps holiness involves gradually relinquishing the resentment that leads to an interior cycle of blame, hatred, and revenge. Perhaps holiness is the ongoing practice of abandoning the self-righteousness that distorts our perception, such that our sisters seem to be enemies and our neighbors, persecutors. Where is resentment or self-righteousness interfering with our relationships today?
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