What is Lent?
Lent is a 40-day period in which Catholics take on a penance, prayer, and fasting in preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection on Easter Sunday. During the these 40 days, Catholics the age of 14 and above are expected to refrain from meat on Ash Wednesday and on Fridays as part of fasting. It is encouraged that we give up something during this time as a sacrifice. During this time, we reflect on our sins and recognize that God made the ultimate sacrifice – His own son who died for us.
Timeline of Special Days During Lent
Ash Wednesday – February 26
On Ash Wednesday, ashes are placed on the forehead as a symbol that we were born from dust and to dust we will return one day. During this day, fasting is encouraged, as well as abstaining from meat throughout the day.
Palm Sunday – April 5
We attend mass on Palm Sunday in celebration of Jesus entering Jerusalem. The people of Jerusalem cheered him on and waved palm tree leaves in the air as Jesus rode on a donkey through Jerusalem.
Holy Thursday – April 9
Holy Thursday is the Last Supper where Jesus had His last meal with His disciples establishing the sacrament of Holy Communion. During the meal, Jesus told them that one of them would betray Him, but they denied that being a possibility. After the meal, Jesus established priesthood by washing their feet. Soon after, Jesus went to Gethsemane to pray and was later betrayed by Judas, one of His disciples.
Good Friday – April 10
Good Friday is the day that Jesus died on the cross. Once Pontius Pilate sentenced Him to death for blasphemy, He was given a crown of thorns and beaten before having to carry His own cross to Calvary. On the way to His crucifixion, He falls three times and encounters His mother Mary. Once He arrives on the hill, he is crucified alongside two criminals. Fasting is suggested during this day leading up to Jesus’ resurrection.
Discussion with Fr. David Hebert
Why do we as Catholics observe Lent?
Why is it important to fast from meat on Fridays and take on a penance?
Does the word Lent have a meaning?
What does Lent mean to you?
What Should I Give Up for Lent?
Each year, we are encouraged to take on a penance during the season of Lent. Most people decide to give up something that they enjoy, such as soft drinks, candy, and other similar items. However, this is not the only type of penance that you can take on during the season. Instead of giving something up, consider doing more. For example, a penance to take on is to attend a weekday mass as well as Sunday mass. Another way to observe a penance might be volunteering at a local shelter or donating canned goods. These are other ways that you can observe a penance that will have positive affects to those around you.