Understanding Lent

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This Wednesday, Catholics across the globe will flock to churches to commemorate the start of the Lenten season. While all Catholic school students will attend Mass during the school day, it is encouraged that us adults carve out time in our day too. (For a schedule of Ash Wednesday Masses and services, please see here.)

We are about to embark on a time of spiritual renewal and penitence—40 days of preparation for the Resurrection of the Lord at Easter! The three pillars of Lent—prayer, fasting, and almsgiving—bring us to “true inner conversion of heart as we seek to follow Christ's will more faithfully” (USCCB). 


Prayer, especially when silent and private, brings us deeper communion with the Lord and helps us root out the distractions that prevent us from greater holiness. Throughout the gospels, we see Jesus removing himself from the crowd to pray in silence. “In these days he went out to the hills to pray; and all night he continued in prayer to God” (Lk 6:12). Join us in praying the following prayer and click to view this schedule of Adoration/Holy Hours throughout the diocese during Lent.

My precious and crucified Lord, I offer You this Lent.
 I offer it to You with total abandonment and trust.
 I offer You my prayers, sacrifices, and my very life this day.
 Do with me, Lord, as You will.
I pray that this Lent will be fruitful.
 I know You have much to say to me and much to do in my life.
 May this Lent be a time through which Your mercy is poured in abundance into my soul,
 and into the souls of all Your faithful.
Dearest Lord, help me to especially see my sins, this Lent.
 Humble me so that I may see clearly.
 Give me courage and strength to confess my sins,
 and to turn from them with all my heart.
Enlighten me with Your Holy Word, dear Lord.
 Help me to come to know You and to deepen the gift of faith in my life.
 Show me the plan You have for me,
 and place my feet upon the path You have chosen.
My suffering Lord, I thank You for the fullness of Your perfect Sacrifice.
 I thank You for holding nothing back,
 giving Your life to the last drop of blood.
 May I offer You my very life as a sacrifice,
 trusting in Your mercy with every offering.
Keep me faithful to my Lenten promises,
 and bring forth new life through these sacrifices of love.
 Strengthen my prayer and make me holy.
 Help me to turn to You, each day,
 seeking Your sacred and pierced Heart.
Blessed Mother,
 you stood by your Son in His suffering and death,
 stand by me, I pray, as I journey through this life.
 Pray for me and offer me to Your Son,
 that He may take me into His loving embrace.

Mother Mary, Mother of our Crucified Lord,
 pray for us who have recourse to thee.

Fasting has been part of the Christian call since the church’s very beginning. “When you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Mt 6:17-18). The discipline not only allows us to share in the passion of Christ, taking on his suffering, but it reminds us of our reliance on God, that we are sustained by Him alone. Fasting is required on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and every Friday during Lent is meatless. See here for a fish fry & Lenten meal guide

Almsgiving allows us to share with others the gifts that God has given us and partake in the paramount virtue of Christian charity. This can be in the form of time, talent, or treasure—in whichever way we can offer ourselves to the other, acknowledging his or her dignity and worth. “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” (Mt 19:21). For a brief explanation of Lenten almsgiving, watch this video