The season of Lent is a forty day period of prayer, fasting and almsgiving (acts of charity) to help Christians prepare spiritually for the commemoration of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ during Holy Week. The season has its roots in early Christianity when those guilty of serious sin were expelled from the Christian community to wear sackcloth and ashes and to make atonement for their sins. They were reconciled back to the community on Holy Thursday, in time for the celebration of the Paschal Triduum. Today, Christians are marked with ashes on their foreheads on Ash Wednesday as a reminder of our own sinfulness and the need for God’s grace in our lives. The season of Lent also has its roots in early Christian Initiation when the catechumens were sent to the bishop for recognition and entered into an intense period of purification and enlightenment in preparation for their full initiation at Easter. The Church journeys with catechumens today during the season of Lent by preparing ourselves spiritually to renew our baptismal promises at Easter.
Each parish in the Diocese of Scranton is encouraged to pray continuously for atonement and healing for victims of sexual abuse, especially during the Lenten season and during the month of April which is “National Child Abuse Prevention Month.” Parish resources for atonement and healing during Lent can be found by clicking here.
BISHOP BAMBERA’S WEEKLY LENTEN MESSAGE
FASTING AND ABSTINENCE
Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are obligatory days of fasting and abstinence for Catholics. In addition, Fridays during Lent are obligatory days of abstinence. Here are the guidelines for fasting and 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, 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 Latin Catholic Church from age 14 onwards.
- 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.
THE LIGHT IS ON FOR YOU
To make it as easy as possible for every Catholic to experience the grace of the Sacrament of Reconciliation during the season of Lent, a noble practice has been set forth in every parish of the Diocese of Scranton. Entitled The Light Is ON for You, this initiative, which has served well in our diocese for several years now, will provide the opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation in all parishes of the Diocese of Scranton at the same time during the weeks of Lent. Beginning on Monday, March 11th of the First Week of Lent and continuing through Monday, April 8th of the Fifth Week of Lent, confessions will be heard on each Monday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Please consider participating as fully as possible in this special opportunity, including members of your family, and any others that you may know who are longing to return to the Catholic faith.
For a list of parish and individual resources for The Light Is ON for You, please click here.