The 2018 Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday, February 14, and ends with Easter Sunday on April 1.
Before beginning his ministry, Jesus went into the desert and prayed. He didn’t eat or drink; he fasted, and used this time to focus on his relationship with God. On Wednesday, 14th February, 2018, we will commence our Lenten Journey, a time when we too will be invited to focus on our relationship with God during the 40 days before Easter. Traditionally, Catholics do three things to grow closer to God during Lent: pray, fast and give alms to those in need. These are the three pillars of our Lenten spirituality:
- PRAYER: We pray to grow in our relationship with God, and ask God for guidance on how to live our lives. We thank God for the gifts we have been given, and we pray for those who have less than we do.
- FASTING: We give something up in order to create more space for what is truly important – our relationship with God and our neighbor. Choosing to live without something reminds us that everything we have is a gift from God.
- ALMSGIVING: When we give to those who have less than we do, we fulfill Jesus’ call to love and serve our neighbors, and we share the gifts we have been given.
Everyone 14 years of age and older is bound to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, the Fridays of Lent and Good Friday. Everyone 18 years of age and older but under the age of 60 is also bound to fast Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. On these two days, the law of fast allows only one full meal a day, but does not prohibit taking some food during the day, so long as this does not constitute another full meal. Drinking liquids during the day is permitted. When health or ability to work would be seriously affected, the law does not oblige. Parishioners are encouraged to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation during Lent, and attend Morning Prayer at 7:15am, and one of the daily Masses at 6:30 & 8:00am and 5:10 pm. Stations of the Cross are Fridays at 2:15 (led by our school students) & 7:00 pm.
The Catholic Relief Service's Rice Bowl
CRS Rice Bowl is the Lenten faith-in-action program of Catholic Relief Services, where faith communities are invited to live in solidarity with our poorest and most vulnerable brothers and sisters around the world, through the three pillars of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
CRS Rice Bowl boxes will be available for St Dunstan parishioners who might like to participate. They will be available in the Church Vestibule from Ash Wednesday onwards. Put in a prominent place in your home, they will serve as a reminder to direct your Lenten prayer, fasting and almsgiving to those who need our help. Money saved through your sacrifices – perhaps the cost of something you have given up for Lent, perhaps the loose change you empty out of your pockets as you go to bed, whatever – could be put in the box and form part of your almsgiving gift to be donated at Easter.