Lenten Activities - Lenten Bible Study, Simple Suppers, Stations of the Cross, Almoner's Program, Sacrament of Reconciliation Opportunities
Lent Made Easy - Answers to Common Questions about Lent
Please join Fr. Paul Àdajà for a special Bible study during Lent! The sessions will be held twice on Wednesdays, at 10:00-11:00 am and again from 7:00-8:00 pm. Here are the dates, topics, and the readings:
The programs will be held in the Ministry Center. The evening sessions will be live-streamed on our Facebook page, facebook.com/stgertrudechicago/. You do not need a Facebook account to watch the live-stream!
Questions? Email Fr. Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Wednesday, February 28, St. Gertrude’s Music Ministry will host the second Simple Supper. It will be at 6:00 pm in the Ministry Center.
Each Friday during Lent, there will be Eucharistic Adoration from noon until 3:00 pm.
Mark your calendars so that you can participate in Stations of the Cross each Friday. Walk in the footsteps of Jesus and be reminded of God’s love for us and the sacrifice that was made to save us. At 3:00 pm, we will offer a traditional Way of the Cross.
Another Stations of the Cross will be held at 6:30 pm on Fridays with a social justice theme. On Good Friday, March 29, our Youth Group will lead a Living Stations of the Cross.
Our parish's Almoners’ Program is taking place again. Each weekend, a second collection will be held, with funds used to distribute McDonald's Cards to those who are in need. At the end of each Mass, those wishing to participate in distributing cards to the needy will be invited to come forward, receive the cards, and be given a blessing as they go out in this charitable outreach.
If it has been a while since you have last celebrated the Sacrament of Reconciliation, every Saturday from 4:00-4:45 pm, private confession is available. There is a communal parish reconciliation service on Sunday, March 17 at 1:00 pm; another for all the parishes in our deanery (Deanery 2B) is on Monday, March 25 (Monday of Holy Week) at 7:00 pm at the St. Ita campus of Mother of God Parish.
Lent is a special time (a period of 40 days) of prayer, penance, sacrifice and good works in preparation of the celebration of Easter. the word Lent itself is derived from the Anglo-Saxon words lencten, meaning "Spring," and lenctentid, which literally means not only "Springtide" but also was the word for "March," the month in which the majority of Lent falls.
The number "40" has always had special spiritual significance regarding preparation. On Mount Sinai, preparing to receive the Ten Commandments, "Moses stayed there with the Lord for 40 days and 40 nights, without eating any food or drinking any water" (Ex 34:28). Elijah walked "40 days and 40 nights" to the mountain of the Lord, Mount Horeb (another name for Sinai) (I Kgs 19:8).
Most importantly, Jesus fasted and prayed for "40 days and 40 nights" in the desert before He began His public ministry (Mt 4:2). Lent becomes more regularized after the legalization of Christianity in A.D. 313.
The Council of Nicaea (325), gave us the idea that the practice of ‘40’ had become fixed when it noted that two provincial synods (meeting) should be held each year, "one before the 40 days of Lent."
Lent is the forty days before Easter. It starts from Ash Wednesday and ends at sunset on the Thursday of the Holy Week. Note that Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday are treated as a single day and are called The Holy Triduum. The days of Holy Triduum are sort of not part of Lent.
While the season of Lent (Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday) is technically 44 days, the number of days for penance and fasting before Easter is still 40: 44 days minus 6 Sundays equals 38, plus Good Friday and Holy Saturday equals 40.
We are subtracting Sundays since a Sunday is a day we celebrate the resurrection of the Lord, we neither fast nor practice abstinence.
The present fasting and abstinence laws are very simple: On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, the faithful fast and abstain from meat; on the other Fridays of Lent, the faithful abstain from meat. For members of the Latin Catholic Church, fasting during Lent is 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. Abstinence from meat are binding upon members of the Latin Catholic Church from age 14 onwards.
While the consumption of solid food between meals is forbidden, liquids, including tea, coffee and juices, may be taken at any time.
Canon 1251: “Abstinence from eating meat or some other food according to the prescripts of the conference of bishops is to be observed on every Friday of the year unless a Friday occurs on a day listed as a solemnity. Abstinence and fasting however are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.”
The purpose of these laws of abstinence is to educate us in the higher spiritual law of charity and self-mastery. In this way, it makes little sense to give up steak so as to gorge on lobster and caviar. The idea of abstinence is to prefer a simpler, less sumptuous diet than normal.
People are still encouraged "to give up something" for Lent as a sacrifice. (An interesting note is that technically on Sundays and solemnities like St. Joseph's Day (March 19) and the Annunciation (March 25), one is exempt and can partake of whatever has been offered up for Lent.
In most ancient cultures meat was considered a delicacy and the “fattened calf” was not slaughtered unless there was something to celebrate. The law of abstinence prohibits eating the flesh, marrow and blood products of such animals and birds as constitute flesh meat. In earlier times the law of abstinence also forbade such foods that originated from such animals, such as milk, butter, cheese, eggs, lard and sauces made from animal fat.
This restriction is no longer in force in the Roman rite. This spiritual purpose can also help us to understand the reasons for excluding flesh meat on penitential days.
There was a once-widespread belief that flesh mean provoked and excited the baser human passions. Renouncing these foodstuffs was considered an excellent means of conquering the wayward self and orienting one’s life toward God.
I think it is okay to see such a sacrifice during Lent as offering up something to help ourselves grow closer to Jesus and also protect the climate He has blessed us with.
We are made of stardust, the Scientists say—the iron in our blood, the calcium in our bones, the chlorine in our skin forged in the furnaces of ancient stars whose explosions scattered the elements across the galaxy.
In the wake of tragedy or in anticipation of judgment, the ancient peoples traded their finer clothes for coarse, colorless sackcloth and smeared their faces with the ashes of burned-up things. They ritualized their smallness, their dependency, their complicity. “Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return.” It is the only thing we know for sure: we will die.
5. Why Abstinence from Meat by Father Edward McNamara, LC (www.zenit.org)
6. Rachel Held Evans, Searching for Sunday (Nashville, Tennessee: Nelson Books, 2015), 43-46.
The following suggestions were compiled by our Growing in faith Committee and other Archdiocese Catholic ministries.