During Lent (the period of 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday), the Roman Catholic Church asks us to follow Jesus into the desert. We are called to practice prayer, fasting and almsgiving. The Season of Lent precedes the great feast and celebration of Easter – the resurrection of Jesus! Lent is a time of preparation for this joyous feast – we are called to get our souls in order. In other words, it is time to examine our souls – in which areas do we fall short in following Jesus.
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 Roman 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, as well as two smaller meals that together are not equal to a full meal. The norms concerning abstinence from meat are binding upon members of the Roman Catholic Church from age 14 onwards.
Fasting does not need to be limited to not eating meat. Fasting can apply to refraining from speaking hurtful words, holding grudges, etc.. In the words of Pope Francis:
DO YOU WANT TO FAST THIS LENT?
Fast from hurting words and say kind words.
Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude.
Fast from anger and be filled with patience.
Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope.
Fast from worries and have trust in God.
Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.
Fast from pressures and be prayerful.
Fast from bitterness and fill your hearts with joy.
Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others.
Fast from grudges and be reconciled.
Fast from words and be silent so you can listen.
Almsgiving is the act of donating money or goods to those in need and performing acts of charity. It shows love of God and others. Saint Polycarp Church provides the parish community the opportunity to donate to the Catholic Relief Service (CRS) through their Rice Bowl Box. To read more about the CRS Rice Bowl, visit crsricebowl.org.
Our PSR students donate to the Missionary Childhood Association during Lent, as well as donating food items for our local pantry.
Adoration – Noon – 8 pm on Tuesdays in Church.
Stations of the Cross – Fridays during Lent in the Church. Time TBA
Flame of Love – 6:30 pm on Thursdays in our St. Ann Chapel
Divine Mercy Chaplet – 3 pm on Fridays in Church.
Rosary – before 8:30am Mass
Sacrament of Reconciliation / Confession / Penance offered at 2:30 pm on Saturdays at St Polycarp Church and the Deanery Lenten Reconciliation Service at Holy Cross Church.
Do you need a gift for Easter? Are you looking for a gift which reflects and expresses your Catholic faith? Call the Parish Office to request a Mass to be said for a family member, friend, yourself, etc. There is no better gift than the gift of prayer! The offering of a Mass for someone (living or deceased) is very powerful.
Consider enrolling the names (living or deceased) in the Easter Novena. The Easter Novena is a period of nine consecutive days of prayer. The names enrolled in the Easter Novena will be remembered at Mass for nine consecutive days. If you are a registered parishioner, an envelope was mailed to you. You can also participate through the eGiving program.
Some Suggestions for the Lenten Season:
~ Attend Mass more than on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation.
~ Pray the Rosary and Sacred Heart Devotions on First Fridays.
~ Pray the Stations of the Cross. (Visit the Stations of the Cross on the Catholic Relief Services website.)
~ Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
~ Pray the Rosary.
~ Spend 5 minutes or so each day and have a conversation with God. Give Him your worries, fears, struggles, joys, successes . . .
~ Fast from a particular food.
~ Fast from hurtful speech.
~ Fast from TV and/or the internet.
~ Thank God for all of His blessings.
~ Thank God for answering your prayers even if His answer is not the one you wanted or expected.
~ Choose to Trust God more.
~ Choose one of the Ten Commandments to reflect on for a week and put into practice the observance of that specific commandment.
~ Choose one of the Beatitudes to reflect on for a week and put into practice the observance of that specific Beatitude.
~ Choose one of the Spiritual Works of Mercy to reflect on for a week and put into practice the observance of that specific Spiritual Work of Mercy.
~ Choose one of the Corporal Works of Mercy to reflect on for a week and put into practice the observance of that specific Corporal Work of Mercy.
~ Strive to understand more deeply and live out your Baptismal Promises.
~ Choose one of the Precepts of the Church to reflect on for a week and then put into practice that specific Precept of the Church.
~ Pray for vocations.
~ Pray for priests.
~ Pray for the souls in purgatory.
~ Watch shows on EWTN – the adult and children shows offer a Catholic perspective and teach the Catholic faith. During the Lent season, a large number of shows focus on Lent and the true meaning of Easter.
~ Share the love of Jesus with others through your actions and words.
~ Choose to smile!
~ Choose to forgive!
~ Choose to be patient.
~ Choose to be involved in the various ministries here at St. Polycarp Church.
~ Choose to be good faithful stewards of the gifts God has given you.
~ Call on your Guardian Angel for help when you need help.
~ Read the Bible.
~ Read The Catechism of the Catholic Church.
~ Read Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska (Divine Mercy).
~ Read The Spiritual Diary of Elizabeth Kindelmann (Flame of Love).
~ Read the Living Faith booklets (offered freely by St. Polycarp Church and found at all of the Church doors)