Lent begins…

 

Pope Francis’ Message for Lent 2016 which begins on Ash Wednesday, February 10, 2016.

In [declaring] the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, I asked that the season of Lent in this Jubilee Year be lived more intensely as a privileged moment to celebrate and experience God’s mercy first-hand.

The mystery of divine mercy is revealed in the history of the covenant between God and his people Israel. God shows himself ever rich in mercy, ever ready to treat his people with deep tenderness and compassion. This love story culminates in the incarnation of God’s Son. In Christ, the Father pours forth his boundless mercy even to making him “mercy incarnate.”

God’s mercy transforms human hearts; it enables us, through the experience of a faithful love, to become merciful in turn. In an ever new miracle, divine mercy shines forth in our lives, inspiring each of us to love our neighbor and to devote ourselves to what the Church’s tradition calls the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

For all of us, then, the season of Lent in this Jubilee Year is a favorable time to overcome our existential alienation by listening to God’s word and by practicing the works of mercy. In the corporal works of mercy we touch the flesh of Christ in our brothers and sisters who need to be fed, clothed, sheltered, visited; in the spiritual works of mercy—counsel, instruction, forgiveness, admonishment and prayer—we touch more directly our own sinfulness. The corporal and spiritual works of mercy must never be separated. By touching the flesh of the crucified Jesus in the suffering, sinners can receive the gift of realizing that they too are poor and in need.

Let us not waste this season of Lent, so favorable a time for conversion! We ask this through the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary, who, encountering the greatness of God’s mercy freely bestowed upon her, was the first to acknowledge her lowliness (cf. Luke 1:48) and to call herself the Lord’s humble servant (cf. Luke 1:38).

From the Vatican, October 4, 2015
Feast of St. Francis of Assisi

Ash-Wednesday1

Ash Wednesday Mass Schedule
Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Saint Casimir Church
7:30am Mass
4:00pm Spanish Mass

Church of the Resurrection
8:30am Mass
12:00 Noon Mass
7:00 pm Mass

The Origin of Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday entered the calendar in the early sixth century when the desire arose to have forty actual days of fasting before Easter. Sundays were never fast days, so to get to forty, one had to add four days to the six weeks of Lent.

In the Christian lands along the Rhine River the devotional practice of imposing ashes arose as people imitated what they heard in Bible passages such as 2Samuel 13:19, Ezekiel 27:30, Job 2:12, and Jonah 3:6. What was once a private devotion came to be practiced publicly in the eighth century, and by the year 1000 it was commonplace in many celebrations at the beginning of Lent.

The distribution of ashes was formally added to the Missal at Rome in the thirteenth century and this ancient symbol of repentance is now widely used among most Christian denominations at the beginning of Lent.

Ash Wednesday 2

Lent is the 40-day season of penance in preparation for the celebration of the redemption of the human race by Jesus Christ. It ends on Holy Thurs., March 24, and is followed by the Sacred Triduum, March 25-26 and Easter Sunday, March 27. Please read the following Guidelines for Fasting and Abstinence:

Fasting is to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday by everyone 18 years and older, who has not yet celebrated their 59th birthday. On a fast day, one full meal is allowed. Two other meals, enough to maintain strength, may be taken, according to each one’s needs, but together they should not equal another full meal. Eating between meals is not permitted, but consuming liquids, including milk and juices, is allowed.

Abstinence is observed by everyone 14 years of age or older. On days of abstinence, no meat is allowed. Note that when health or the ability to work is affected, the law does not oblige. Ash Wednesday, all the Fridays during Lent, and Good Friday are days of abstinence. If a person is unable to observe the above regulations due to ill health or other serious reasons, other suitable forms of self-denial are encouraged.

visit: http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year/lent/