Season of Lent

Lent starts on Ash Wednesday – March 9, 2011.  Here are some tips to remember during Lent:

WHAT IS THE SEASON OF LENT?

 The Season of Lent is a time of prayer and penance in preparation for Easter.  It is especially a penitential season, a time of reflection and self-discipline and the turning of the mind to God, and the renewal of one’s spiritual life.

 WHAT IS A PENITENTIAL SEASON?

 A penitential season is a time when we put aside our usual occupations and concentrate on the things of the soul.  It is a time to think about our position before God, the state of our conscience, our moral and religious life, the reality of death and the salvation achieved for us by Jesus Christ.  It is especially a time for reflecting on the passion and crucifixion of the Lord and the price that he paid for our redemption.

 WHEN DOES THE SEASON OF LENT BEGIN?

 The Season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.

 WHEN DOES THE SEASON OF LENT END?

 The Season of Lent ends at the Solemn Easter Vigil on Easter Eve.

 HOW LONG DOES THE SEASON OF LENT LAST?

 The Season of Lent lasts for 48 day, including the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday and the last day of Lent, Holy Saturday.

 SPECIAL PRACTICES OF LENT?

 The special practices of Lent are prayer, almsgiving and fasting.  Prayer is directed to God, almsgiving to others, and fasting to our own spiritual welfare.

 WHAT ARE THE OBLIGATIONS OF LENT?

 The obligations of Lent are fasting and abstinence, but it is a time as well for setting aside times for prayer, attending Mass on weekdays, the devotion of the Stations of the Cross, reflection upon the Passion and Death of the Lord, and for the renewal of our own spiritual life.

 WHAT IS FASTING?

 Fasting is taking less food than usual, limiting our intake of food.

 WHAT IS ABSTINENCE?

Abstinence is not eating meat for the whole day.  On a day of abstinence one may not eat meat.

 WHY DO CATHOLICS FAST AND ABSTAIN?

 Fasting and abstinence are religious practices, as penance for our sins, or to enable us to spend more time in prayer.  They are penitential practices, a spiritual discipline to strengthen the soul and open it to God.

 WHEN ARE CATHOLICS OBLIGED TO FAST?

 Catholics are obliged to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

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