Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Why do Catholics practice fasting and abstinence during Lent?

Lent is the 40 days before Easter in which Catholics pray, fast, contemplate, and engage in acts of spiritual self-discipline. Catholics do these things because Easter, which celebrates the Resurrection of Christ, is the greatest holy day of the Christian year (even above Christmas) and Catholics have recognized that it is appropriate to prepare for such a holy day by engaging in such disciplines.

The reason Lent lasts 40 days is that 40 is the traditional number of judgment and spiritual testing in the Bible.  Lent bears particular relationship to the 40 days Christ spent fasting in the desert before entering into his public ministry. Catholics imitate Christ by spending 40 days in spiritual discipline before the celebration of Christ's triumph over sin and death.

Fasting is a biblical discipline that can be defended from both the Old and the New Testament. Christ expected his disciples to fast and issued instructions for how they should do so. Catholics follow this pattern by holding a partial fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Abstinence from certain foods is also a biblical discipline.  The only kind of flesh Catholics eat on Friday is fish, which is a symbol of Christ.
Even the Ash Wednesday practice of having one's forehead signed with ashes has a biblical parallel. Putting ashes on one's head was a common biblical expression of mourning.  By having the sign of the cross made with ashes on their foreheads, Catholics mourn  Christ's suffering on the cross and their own sins, which made that suffering necessary.
The time of Lent, through fasting and abstaining, should be an important reminder of what it means to suffer.  This small suffering should not be met with misery, but with great joy as we better understand the incredible sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for all of us.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Lenten Ideas

Next week begins our Lenten journey.  Ash Wednesday, March 1st, marks the beginning of Lent, the 40 days of preparation for the Easter season when we are called to deepen our spiritual lives through the practices of fasting, prayer and almsgiving. The belief is that these practices will improve our spiritual well-being by stripping away all that is unnecessary, allowing us to become more mindful of how God is working in our lives.
Challenge yourself this year and go beyond the usual practice of “giving up” something.
Make a plan...Lent begins next week!
Here are just a few ideas you may want to try this Lenten season --
*Take something on — 40 days of reaching out to those you don't always get to see or visit, 40 acts of random kindness, 40 phone calls to the important people in your life.
*Get some friends together and attend our Friday fish fry (or pick one at a neighboring parish). The fried fish version is not the healthiest thing in the world (St. Columbkille offers both fried and baked), but a fun Catholic tradition to help you abstain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent while supporting the parish!
*Get to know your neighbors. Introduce yourself, plan a dinner, or bring food to an older person, single parent or someone dealing with some health issues.
*Go to a weekday Mass one day during the weeks of Lent.
*Gather items you may not be using any more and donate them to help others.

Fat Friday

Lent begins Wednesday, March 1st -- this Friday is the last "meat" Friday before the Lenten season.  Let the Knights of Columbus do the cooking for you!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Coming Soon...

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