Parish Lenten Program 2020
Lenten Reflection Groups:
On the Thursdays of Lent, we will get together in the Parish Office to reflect on the themes of Lent through the Sunday gospels for Year A. Two one-hour sessions will be offered each Thursday at 10:00am and 7:00pm (a repeat of the 10:00am session). The sessions will be led by myself, Sr Helen, Julie Gorman, Michael Tan and Deacon Richard Mulheron, taking each session in turns. Please consider attending these sessions as part of your Lenten discipline. This does not have to be a hard or a sacrifice. There are various forms of ‘penance’ we can do.
Everyone is welcome The first session will be held on Thursday 17 February at 10:00am; this will be repeated at 7:00pm on the same day. For those wishing to attend it may help if you have the gospel for the following Sunday.
Fr Peter Blayney
Days of Penance:
Abstinence means not eating meat. Abstinence applies to everyone from age 14. Fasting means having one main meal and two lighter meals. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The law of fasting requires a Catholic from the 18th birthday to the 59th birthday (ie the beginning of the 60th year) to reduce the amount of food eaten from normal. The church defines this as one meal a day, and two smaller meals which if added together would not exceed the main meal in quantity. Such fasting is obligatory on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
PRACTICAL LENTEN DISCIPLINES:
The traditional three-pronged approach to the penitential season is through the practice of prayer, fasting and almsgiving (Mt 6). While some sacrifice is involved on our part, it does not mean that these disciplines always have to be difficult. Consider other ways of becoming involved in good Lenten disciplines. First of all, the parish offers us many opportunities of participating in weekday Mass, Stations of the Cross after theTuesday 7:00pm Mass, the Saturday morning Mass followed by Eucharistic Adoration, the Sacrament of Penance, praying with the Rosary Cenacle prayer group on Thursday mornings (8:15am) before Mass, attending the Lenten Prayer and Reflection group on
Thursdays at either 10:00am or 7:00pm, and joining (temporarily or permanently) any of the parish ministry groups listed in the parish bulletin.
Secondly, there are various other practices which we can do at home and in private (‘When you pray, go to your private room …and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you’, Mt 6:6). For example, private and/or family praying the Rosary, reading and praying the Scriptures, reading about the lives of the saints or simply sitting quietly with the Lord for some time.
Thirdly, we can think laterally about such things as fasting. While one way to fast is to consciously decide to reduce food and drink (provided we follow the Church’s rules on this matter), another way of fasting is to examine the quality of our relationships with others, from family members, friends, work colleagues and acquaintances. In this way, we are fasting (resisting) from treating such people with less than the full “love of neighbour” expected of us by God.
Fourthly, we can enter into the spirit and the law of penance by taking almsgiving seriously. We have the
traditional contribution to Project Compassion available to help us with this. There are various other
charities to which we can contribute with both our treasure and talent. The latter would include volunteering to help these charities (e.g. House of Welcome, East Granville) in whatever way we can.
When it comes to Lenten disciplines and penances, the possibilities are endless! Pope Francis said it
better on Ash Wednesday: “It is the right time to turn off the television and open the Bible. It is the time to disconnect from mobile phones and connect ourselves to the Gospel. It’s a time to give up useless
words, idle chatter, rumours, gossip and speak intimately with the Lord” ~ Fr. Peter Blayney