Dear Parishioners and Visitors:
The prayers of the liturgy refer to Lent as “this joyful season.” Though the character of the 40-day period is penitential, the intent of Lent is to prepare us spiritually for the greatest feast of the Church year, the always-jubilant Easter Season.
So where did Lent come from? Let’s start by saying that Christianity embraces one key belief: the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This central article of faith shapes everything we do as Christians, how we live, how we die, and certainly how we express our faith in worship. Easter is, therefore, the primary day of rejoicing, and every Sunday is considered a “little Easter,” a commemoration of how Jesus triumphed over sin and death.
In the early Church, Christians prepared for the Easter sacraments by fasting for up to a week, but by the 4th century, a full 40-day period of preparation was observed, imitating the 40-day fast of Jesus in the desert before undertaking his great mission. Almsgiving was added to the practices of Lent as it, too, was a traditional way of making sacrifice to God in the wake of sinfulness.
Easter, the Christian Passover, was fixed by the Council of Nicaea in 325 to coincide with the first full moon after the vernal equinox. That makes Lent the annual “springtime” of faith, quite literally, as the word Lent means “spring.”
Let us pray together, as a community of faith, that this Lenten Season will be a time of faith development and growth in the Spirit for us, for all who gather here, and especially for those who have lost their way in faith.
With prayerful best wishes,
Fr. John Mahoney