January 19, 2018
Ash Wednesday, which begins the Season of Lent, will be observed this year on February 14. As the nation celebrates love on this day, Catholics can reflect more deeply on the sacrificial love of Jesus that led to his dying on the Cross on Good Friday for the forgiveness of sins.
During the Lenten Season we are asked to devote ourselves to:
- Seeking the Lord in prayer and reading Scripture
- Service and giving alms
- Self-control through fasting
The Church also encourages participation in the Sacrament of Reconciliation during the Lenten Season in order to grow closer to Christ Jesus and his Body, the Church. By the grace of the Holy Spirit, we seek forgiveness and repentance, let go of patterns of sin, grow in the life of virtue, and witness to a joyful conversion.
Many know of the tradition of abstaining from meat on Fridays during Lent. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are also days of fasting. We are also called to practice self-discipline and fast in other ways throughout the season. The giving of alms is one way to share God’s gifts—not only through the distribution of money, but through the sharing of our time and talents.
“Lent is a favorable season for opening the doors to all those in need and recognizing in them the face of Christ.”– Pope Francis
In Lent, the baptized are called to renew their baptismal commitment as others prepare to be baptized through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, a period of learning and discernment for individuals who have declared their desire to become Catholics. The key to fruitful observance of these practices is to recognize their link to baptismal renewal. We are called not just to abstain from sin during Lent, but to true conversion of our hearts and minds as followers of Christ. We recall those waters in which we were baptized into Christ’s death, died to sin and evil, and began new life in Christ.
from the Office of the Bishop, DOSP.