To think of Lent as a time of penance is to do it an injustice. There is much more to this wonderful season than just additional practices of piety or acts of penance and mortification. In Lent the Church calls us to a change of mind and heart, altering one’s mind-set toward whole new ways of thinking and acting. This involves taking a look at where we are and trying to see where we ought to be. It involves testing our values and discerning how they stack up against the values that Jesus offers His followers.
Each year we are invited to choose a Lenten Journey that will join us with Christ on our path to Easter Life. We choose observance and practices to give shape to our life as Catholic Christians.
These pages outline events that St. Patrick will offer as supports in the shaping of your Lenten journey.We hear so often that Christians are “Easter People” and of course that’s true. But we can’t have Easter without first having Lent. Before the Resurrection comes the Cross.
Increase your prayer life, for your own benefit, for your family, for the sake of the Church as a whole. You don't have to do all of these, try picking one or two of them and do it for 40 days for Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday.
By refraining from eating, we signify our oneness with the Lord, acknowledge our need for conversion, and give witness to our solidarity with those less fortunate.
We have received so much from the Lord that we encourage others to experience His love for them through the St. Vincent de Paul ministry of assistance. Everything you put in the Poor boxes goes directly to assist the needs of the poor.
Abstinence: Catholics 14 years and older are bound to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays of Lent. Pregnant and nursing mothers and those with medical conditions are exempt.
Fasting: Catholics between 18 and 59 are also bound to Fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Fasting means having only one full meal to maintain one's strength. Two smaller, meatless and penitential meals are permitted according to one's needs, but they should not together equal the one full meal. Eating solid foods between meals is not permitted. Again, pregnant and nursing mothers and those with medical conditions are exempt.
The Code of Canon Law and our bishops remind us of other works and means of doing penance: prayer, acts of self-denial, almsgiving and works of personal charity. Attending Mass daily, several times a week, praying the rosary, making the Way of the Cross, attending the parish Evening Prayer service, teaching the illiterate to read, reading to the blind, helping at a soup kitchen, visiting the sick and shut-ins and giving an overworked mother a break by baby-sitting—all of these can be even more meaningful and demanding than simply abstaining from meat on Friday.