What is Lent?

Lent is a time when the Catholic Church collectively enters into preparation for the celebration of Easter. Lent originally developed as a forty-day retreat, preparing converts to be baptized at the Easter Vigil. Lent is a season of conversion. Conversion is the process of turning away from sin and turning to God. Lent starts with Ash Wednesday (this excludes Sundays, which are not part of the 40 days) and ends on Holy Thursday, the first day of the Triduum, the three holy days before Easter.

The 40 Days of Lent

Because 40 is a special number in the Bible. It signifies preparation for something special – as in the 40 day flood of Noah.
* Moses stayed on the Mount Sinai forty days (Ex 24:18),
* Jonah gives the people of Ninevah forty days to repent (Jon 3:4) – (there are many other Old Testament stories)
* We also see this with Jesus, before starting his ministry, he spent forty days in the desert in prayer and fasting (Matt 4:2).
So, as in the Bible, we spend forty days in preparing ourselves to rejoice at the Resurrection of our Lord at Easter.

Sign up to receive daily Lenten Reflections from our students and staff!

 

A limited number of Physical copies will be available soon at the receptionist desk at St. Mary’s.

Events at St. Mary's during Lent

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Penance Service

7 PM | March 30 | Church
We’ll have music, adoration, and priests from all the surrounding churches here to help hear confessions!

Magnify Lenten Edition

8 PM | March 31 | Church
Adoration, prayer, talk, praise & worship with guest speaker The Culture Project

The Oratory

4:40 PM | Wednesdays | Church

This Lent, learn more about how to pray! We’ll begin with a 20-minute talk on prayer followed by 30 minutes of prayer time in the church before the 5:30 PM daily Mass.

 

Weekly Events at St. Mary’s

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Confessions

Monday:
3 PM - 5:10 PM
Thursday - Saturday
4-5:10 PM

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Eucharistic Adoration

Monday:
8 AM - 8 PM
Tuesday - Thursday:
8 AM - 10 PM
Friday:
8 AM - 12 PM

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Daily Mass

Monday - Friday
12:00 PM & 5:30 PM

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Stations of the Cross

Fridays
6:15 PM in the Church

 
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Holy Week

Palm Sunday 4/10: regular Mass times
Holy Thursday 4/14: Mass of the Lord’s Supper: 7:15 pm
Good Friday 4/15: Service of the Passion of the Lord: 7:15 pm
Holy Saturday 4/16: Easter Vigil: 8:30 pm
Easter Sunday 4/17: Mass: 8 AM, 10 AM, 12 PM, 5:30 PM

No confession on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, or Holy Saturday.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Why do we give something up?

While we are not required to “give something up” we are required to do something penitential. Lent is a great time to break a bad habit and give it to the Lord. These sins and vices we should not take back after Lent. It is also a time to give something up that is good during this season. This is why people give up something they enjoy. In doing so we can draw closer to God by our temporary sacrifice. We should find an appropriate balance of giving something up and not completely cutting ourselves off of good things. We will find our need for God if we do it correctly.

Why fast?

Again, this is because we are called to by Jesus. By denying ourselves something good, we remember what the highest good of all is – GOD. We also practice self-discipline and self-mastery, which we need in order to achieve holiness. Jesus fasted in the desert and calls us to as well.

  • “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.” (Matt 6: 16)

  • “and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.” (Luke 2:37)

  • Fasting also helps focus us in our prayer. *Yet when they were ill, I…humbled myself with fasting.” (Psalm 35:13)

Why do we abstain from meat?

All Catholics from 14 and up are required to abstain from meat and Catholics 18-60 are required to eat only one average meal and two snacks without anything else. Children, the elderly, and those who are sick are not obligated to do this. Because of the spiritual discipline it provides. “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia . . . ‘I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips, and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.'” (Dan 10:1-3) We give up meat, which still today is a luxury in some parts of the world, as a good thing that we offer up in order to remember that Christ is better than food and needed more by all of us than anything else.

Lenten Suggestions

Increased Prayer

  • Wake up 20 minutes early and start the day in prayer.

  • Daily Mass 1-2 times a week.

  • An hour in Adoration a week.

  • Go to Confession.

  • Read Scripture daily.

  • Read a spiritual book.

  • Start to pray a daily Rosary.

  • Pray the Liturgy of the hours.

  • Pray a Divine Mercy Chaplet.

  • Stations of the Cross on Fridays.

  • Pray for your enemies.

  • Do an extra spiritual activity at Church

  • Memorize Scripture verses.

Increased Almsgiving:

  • When you fast from a meal, give the money you would spend to the poor.

  • Volunteer with St. Vincent de Paul or another charitable organization.

  • Visit a nursing home.

  • Start tithing.

  • Make a pledge to a worthy charity.

  • Forgive an old grudge.

  • Invite someone to Church.

  • Share your faith with someone.

  • Exercise patience and love.

  • Speak in a pleasant tone to everyone.

  • Go out of your way to talk to someone who is shy or difficult.

Increased fasting:

  • Fast on bread and water on Fridays.

  • Fast from TV.

  • Fast from snacking or candy.

  • Fast from the radio in your car.

  • Fast from Facebook, Twitter, and/or the internet.

  • Fast from caffeine.

  • Fast from alcohol.

  • Fast from speeding.

  • Fast from sarcasm or gossip.

  • Fast from envying what others have.

  • Fast from being lazy or procrastinating.

  • Fast from complaining.