February 26, 2017
The weather last week was amazing! I hope you had the chance to enjoy it. But don’t get too excited about it. March is still ahead of us. In fact, this week will be Ash Wednesday and with Ash Wednesday we begin forty days of the Lenten Season. The Lenten Season is always a great opportunity to seek spiritual growth. We are invited to participate in the disciplines of fasting, abstinence, and almsgiving.
The discipline of fasting consists of partaking of one full meal a day and not the customary three full meals. Some food is permitted for the other two meals but it cannot be equal to a full meal. We are asked to fast on Ash Wednesday, as we begin the journey of Lent, and on Good Friday, the day of Christ’s passion.
The discipline of abstinence consists on abstaining from eating meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and every Friday of Lent. From this Lenten discipline comes the tradition of Fish Fries, since we are allowed to eat fish instead of other kinds of meat. Fish Fries are also opportunities to practice the discipline of almsgiving. Your donations on fish fries help to financially support youth ministry at St. Patrick Church.
The Lenten Season is also the time for devotion to the Holy Cross. Every Friday we gather to pray the Stations of the Cross. This devotion helps us to deepen our understanding of Christ’s Passion. I hope that everyone will also have the opportunity to approach the Sacrament of Confession at least once during the Lenten Season. Let us begin this Lenten journey reminding ourselves of our sinful, human nature and our constant need for God’s grace of forgiveness as we mark our foreheads with ashes.
God bless you all.
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Rev. Johnson Lopez
Father Lopez is Pastor of Saint Patrick Catholic Church in Rochelle, IL.