Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
During this last weekend before the season of Lent begins, we hear a powerful Gospel in which Jesus teaches us to go beyond the basics and strive for the greatest perfection. He quite literally tells us to go the extra mile (“Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go for two miles”), and gives the radical instruction to “be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” This command is a great challenge, of course, for we only need a glance in the mirror (literal or figurative) to know that we are not perfect. How can we possibly live up to our Lord’s call?
The season of Lent, which begins on Wednesday, provides us with a path toward greater perfection. We will hear, as ashes are imposed on our heads, that we are dust and unto dust we shall return. With that reminder comes the great call to repent and believe in the Gospel. In our search for perfection, the first step is to leave behind our imperfection, that is, the sin in our lives that separates us from the Lord’s goodness. Throughout the forty days of Lent, the Church asks us to undertake three time-honored practices that help us to seek perfection. In prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, we learn to discipline our lives, to behave virtuously, and to grow in relationship with the Lord.
There will be much more to say about the season of Lent as we go through these forty days. But as we prepare for this holy season, we should pause to consider what our Lenten discipline will look like, keeping in mind the Church’s instructions for Lent. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are obligatory days of fasting and abstinence for Catholics. In addition, Fridays during Lent are obligatory days of abstinence. For members of the Latin Catholic Church, the norms on fasting are obligatory from age 18 until age 59. When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal. The norms concerning abstinence from meat are binding upon members of the Latin Catholic Church from age 14 onwards. On the Fridays of Lent, we abstain from meat, as well. During the season of Lent, we are encouraged to also avail ourselves of the sacrament of reconciliation.
This Tuesday, we will have a special Mardi Gras Pancake Dinner, from 5 – 8 PM. All funds raised will help our Fairfield Life Teen High School Youth Ministry with their mission trip this summer. On Wednesday, the distribution of ashes will take place at several different times.
- 7 AM – Liturgy of the Word with distribution of ashes
- 8:30 AM – Mass with distribution of ashes
- Noon – Liturgy of the Word with distribution of ashes
- 5:30 PM – Liturgy of the Word with distribution of ashes
Confessions will be heard from 7 – 8 PM, with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.