We soon will enter the Season of Lent during an extraordinary time as we continue to face the pandemic which has caused so much suffering already. In some ways, it is itself a penance as is all suffering if we can unite it to the sufferings of Christ as we live in hope for the victory of the Resurrection.
The penitential and grace-filled Lenten Season begins with Ash Wednesday on February 17. It is a time of hope-filled renewal as the Church journeys towards Easter. In order to assist the faithful of the Diocese of Brooklyn, our Bishop, the Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio wishes to draw attention to the following:
The obligation to observe, as a whole or substantially, the penitential days specified by the Church is a serious one. Days of penance are not merely individual exercises but rather ones observed by the whole Church as the Body of Christ.
The faithful are urged to celebrate the sacraments of the Eucharist and Penances frequently during Lent as well as reading the Word of God, praying the Stations of the Cross, praying before the Blessed Sacrament, and performing acts of charity especially to the poor.
Pastors and parents are responsible for teaching young people, who are not bound by the above regulations, an authentic sense of penance.
All other Fridays of the year remain days of penance. The Bishops of the USA have recommended that abstinence from meat remain a penitential practice for those days but another practice of voluntary self-denial, personal penance, or charity is also encouraged.
In prayerful communion with the candidates and catechumens, let us accompany the Lord on His way to the cross and the empty tomb. May this time of Lent unite us all more closely to the Lord in His death and His Resurrection!