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Ash Wednesday

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Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent, an important season in the Catholic Church of preparation for the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. Ash Wednesday falls 46 days before Easter, which changes each year. This year, Ash Wednesday starts today, February 10!

Catholics are encouraged to attend Mass on this day to mark the beginning of the Lenten season.

The ashes used on Ash Wednesday are made by the burning of palms from the previous year’s Palm Sunday. They are administered on the forehead in the sign of a cross, and receiving them with humility is a sign of penance.

Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are obligatory days of fasting and abstinence for Catholics. In addition, Fridays during Lent are obligatory days of abstinence.
For members of the Latin Catholic Church, the norms on fasting are obligatory from age 18 until age 59.

Fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday means we can have only one full, meatless meal. Some food can be taken at the other regular meal times if necessary, but combined they should be less than a full meal. Liquids are allowed at any time, but no solid food should be consumed between meals. The norms concerning abstinence from meat are binding upon members of the Latin Catholic Church from age 14 onwards.

Regarding what is classified as “meat” – here is what the United States Conference for Catholic Bishops site says:

Abstinence laws consider that meat comes only from animals such as chickens, cows, sheep or pigs — all of which live on land. Birds are also considered meat. Abstinence does not include meat juices and liquid foods made from meat. Thus, such foods as chicken broth, consomme, soups cooked or flavored with meat, meat gravies or sauces, as well as seasonings or condiments made from animal fat are technically not forbidden. However, moral theologians have traditionally taught that we should abstain from all animal-derived products (except foods such as gelatin, butter, cheese and eggs, which do not have any meat taste). Fish are a different category of animal. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, (cold-blooded animals) and shellfish are permitted.

Beginning with Ash Wednesday and all through Lent, we are invited to live with a greater commitment to prayer, sacrifice and charity to prepare our souls for the holiest Feast of the year, Easter Sunday.

Wishing you all a beautiful Lenten season!

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Shrove Tuesday!

Happy Mardis Gras, Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday . . . Ash Wednesday Eve! On this day, the Church feasts before she enters into a more solemn and penitential season called Lent. “Shrove” is the past tense of the word “shrive,” which means to hear a confession, assign penance, and absolve from sin. Are you eating pancakes today?

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the 40 days of Lent (Sundays excluded from this number). Lent begins tomorrow on Ash Wednesday. Don’t forget to get your ashes! What are you planning on giving up or doing this Lenten season to grow closer to Christ?

Tuesday

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A friendly reminder . . .

Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fasting and abstinence for Catholics. The norms on fasting are obligatory from age 18 until age 59.

When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal; two smaller meals may also be taken. In addition, Fridays during Lent are obligatory days of abstinence. The norms concerning abstinence from meat are binding upon members from age 14 onwards.

No meat

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Morning Prayer

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ I will begin this day.

I thank you, Lord, for having preserved me during the night. I will do my best to make all I do today pleasing to You and in accordance with Your will. My dear mother Mary, watch over me this day. My Guardian Angel, take care of me. St. Joseph and all you saints of God, pray for me.

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, for the intentions of all my relatives and friends, and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father. Amen.

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Ash Wednesday and the Beginning of Lent . . .

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Lent begins every year on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter.

The dates of both Ash Wednesday and Holy Saturday are dependent on the date of Easter, a movable feast, meaning that it occurs on different dates each year. Ash Wednesday in the Western calendar falls 46 days before Easter Sunday, the greatest holy day of the Christian year. When counting the 40 days of Lent you do not count the six Sundays as part of the 40 days. (For Eastern Catholics, Lent begins on Clean Monday, two days before Ash Wednesday.)

What most people mean by “When does Lent end?” is “When does the Lenten fast end?” The answer to that question is Holy Saturday (the day before Easter Sunday), Liturgically, however, Lent ends two days earlier, on Holy Thursday—at least since 1969, when the General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, which govern the revised Roman calendar used in the celebration of the Novus Ordo Mass, were released. Liturgically speaking, Lent ends just before the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday evening, when the liturgical season of the Easter Triduum begins.

Lent is a 40-day period of prayer, fasting, abstinence, and almsgiving, while reflecting on the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus. During Lent Catholics fast on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all Fridays during Lent, and traditionally give up something pleasurable, in addition to increasing their prayer and almsgiving.

Regarding fasting, refraining from food is a great discipline that can help us to bring our bodies under the control of our souls, and also a way of doing penance for past excesses. This is why the Church strongly recommends that Catholics fast during Lent.

The 40 days of Lent come from two biblical stories. The first is the Old Testament story of the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years. The second is the New Testament story of Christ’s 40 days spent in the wilderness when he was tempted by Satan.

During Ash Wednesday services, priests place a cross of ashes on a worshipper’s forehead. This is meant to serve as a reminder of human mortality, repentance and a way to prepare for Holy Week and Easter. The ashes are made from the burnt remnants of the Palm Fronds of the prior year’s Palm Sunday, symbolizing humility, deep love and respect for the Passion of our Lord.

According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: ” Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are obligatory days of fasting and abstinence for Catholics. In addition, Fridays during Lent are obligatory days of abstinence.For members of the Latin Catholic Church, the norms on fasting are obligatory from age 18 until age 59. When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal. Two smaller meals may also be taken, but not to equal a full meal. The norms concerning abstinence from meat are binding upon members of the Latin Catholic Church from age 14 onwards.

Members of the Eastern Catholic Churches are to observe the particular law of their own sui iuris Church.If possible, the fast on Good Friday is continued until the Easter Vigil (on Holy Saturday night) as the “paschal fast” to honor the suffering and death of the Lord Jesus, and to prepare ourselves to share more fully and to celebrate more readily his Resurrection.” (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops)

Remember – Ash Wednesday is tomorrow, March 5th. For those of you who are giving up Facebook for Lent, yet still would like to read my daily prayers and posts, (without the distraction of Facebook) you can find these posts at http://www.lovebeingcatholic.com.

Wishing you all a very holy and humble Lent!