In so many of the great figures of salvation history – Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses etc. – went through a period of testing and trial which was required before they could commence their work. The goal of the Biblical initiation rituals is to convey this simple truth: your life is not about you. It is about God and God’s purposes for you.
This was the purpose of Jesus’ forty day sojourn in the desert, which we model during Lent. The desert represents a stripping away of our attachments, so as to make the fundamental things appear. In the desert there are no distractions or diversions or secondary matters. Everything is basic, necessary and simple. One finds in the desert, strengths and weaknesses we never knew we had.
- Lent is a time for the Church’s annual retreat, a time of intense spiritual renewal for the entire community, through Prayer, Fasting and Alms-giving.
- Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends at dusk before the Lord’s Last supper on Holy Thursday.
The Easter Triduum (the three Holy days) begins with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, reaches its high point in the Easter Vigil, and closes with Evening Prayer on Easter Sunday. Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday and ends at dusk on Easter Sunday.
- The Liturgical colors of Lent are Violet/Purple, symbolizing royalty and penitence.
- Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fast and abstinence. Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence. For additional details on lenten practices click here.
- During Lent, we will collect alms each weekend for 5 weeks and donate to specific recipients as outlined here.
- Each Friday we will have the Stations of the Cross in Church at 7 pm. On the Friday before Good Friday, instead of the Stations of the Cross, we will have a reenactment of the Living Last Supper by the men of St. Stephen. This will be preceded by a Fish Fry organized by the Men’s Club.
- Lenten Prayers and reflections will be available on the St. Stephen Parish App as well as the Lenten booklets provided.
- Our Communal Penance Service will be held on the Monday of Holy Week at 7:30 pm in Church. The Chrism Mass is usually live streamed during the celebration at St. James Cathedral on the Wednesday of Holy Week.
“Lent is like a long ‘retreat’ during which we can turn back into ourselves and listen to the voice of God, in order to defeat the temptations of the Evil One. It is a period of spiritual ‘combat’ which we must experience alongside Jesus, not with pride and presumption, but using the arms of faith: prayer, listening to the word of God, and penance. In this way we will be able to celebrate Easter in truth, ready to renew the promises of our baptism.” Pope Benedict XVI