FOR LENT 2016, I adopted a new Forty Days discipline in addition to intensified prayer, daily almsgiving and letting my liver have its annual vacation: I quit sports talk radio, cold turkey.
THE BEST LENT OF my life involved getting up every day at 5:30 a.m., hiking for miles through ankle-twisting, cobblestoned city streets, dodging drivers for whom traffic laws were traffic suggestions, avoiding the chaos of transit strikes and other civic disturbances, and battling bureaucracies civil and ecclesiastical – all while 3,500 miles from home sweet home.
This year, the Feast of St. Patrick, March 17, falls on a Friday in Lent. I hereby grant to all Catholics of the Diocese of Brooklyn as well as all present here that day, a dispensation from abstinence from meat and meat products.
My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, since Lent has now begun, I call attention to the Message of His Holiness Pope Francis for Lent 2017 entitled “The Word is a gift. Other persons are a gift.”
With new ashes upon our heads and a mandate to “return to God with all our hearts,” we come to this Lent 2017. We pray God walks ahead and alongside us as we begin this journey of repentance and mercy.
One of the great Roman traditions is the Station Church Masses each day during Lent. Coming out of the traditional Mass calendar, those of the North American College, the priests of the Casa Santa Maria and the seminarians on the Gianicolo go each day to a different Roman church as a pilgrimage early in the morning for Mass at 7 a.m. Each day, many other English speakers in the city who make this a major part of their Lenten experience join at the Station churches.
Almost half of adult Catholics, 45 percent, typically receive ashes – made from the burned and blessed palms of the previous year’s Palm Sunday – at Ash Wednesday services, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University.
Lent begins with the celebration of Ash Wednesday, which this year falls on March 1. It is a season that urgently calls us to conversion and is a time for deepening our spiritual life, most especially through prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
by John Fitzgerald, If I had more time I would have prepared much more…. If I knew how important the event was I would have made better preparations. If I had some direction to follow I would have been better prepared.
At Sunday Mass, Father Steve told the congregants that they should not wait until Ash Wednesday to plan how they would observe Lent. Now is the time. Many with good intentions wait until Lent begins and then before you know it, half the season is over and we haven’t even begun preparing for Easter Sunday.