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Where is Jesus leading me this Lent?

By Bishop Terry R. LaValley

Ferb. 18, 2015

As I shared our Diocesan Pastoral Vision at the Chrism Mass last year, I spoke of being Christ-led, Christ-fed, and Hope-filled. 

I hope this Vision will inspire your 2015 Lenten journey of faith.

All four Gospels tell of countless occasions when Jesus invites His followers:  “Follow Me.”  Where is Jesus leading me in Lent 2015? …into the desert, that place where fasting, intense prayer and almsgiving provide the means for me to empty myself of any selfish desires?

…into the streets, reaching out to our sisters and brothers who are hurting because of economic poverty, loneliness, persecution, or the indifference of others?  …into other’s hearts, sharing my faith story with my family, friends and neighbors while asking them to share theirs, realizing that Lent is never my private business? 

Jesus, show me the way.

This Lent I might more consciously seek to be filled with God’s grace, His love that satisfies all my wants and desires.

So, I try to be especially attentive to the mystery of the Mass that I attend.  Maybe I can attend daily Mass, confess my sins, and adore the Blessed Sacrament more often. 

I could allow the Lord to provide a feast for my soul through a more disciplined daily prayer life - reflecting on Scripture, spending more time in silence before the tabernacle and reflecting on the extent to which my life is lived with an attitude of gratitude.  Jesus, fill me with your merciful love.

The tomb was empty!  I must celebrate and live the resurrection story.  How do I continue to grow in knowledge of this defining Mystery of our faith and then get the word out?

I can participate in my parish’s adult faith formation classes or Bible study. 

I can assist my pastor with the parish census project or any other parish efforts that address our diocesan priorities and achieve the goals that have been set, concretely helping to build my parish with living stones.  Jesus, may my whole being proclaim your greatness!

May this Lent be a privileged sacred time where we find our homes in Christ.

I pray that Lent 2015 you and your family will renew your faith, nurture your love for Jesus and others, and discover again and again His boundless love.   

Let us pray for each other this Lent and always!

Lenten regulations for 2015

February 18 is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the Season of Lent.

All Catholics who have reached their 14th birthday are bound to abstain totally from meat on the following days:  Ash Wednesday, all Fridays of Lent, and Good Friday.

All Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 are bound also to observe the Law of Fast on the following days:  Ash Wednesday (Feb. 18) and Good Friday (April 3).  Fasting, that is, eating less, involves limiting oneself to a single full meal and avoiding food between meals.  Lighter nourishment may be taken on two other occasions in the course of the day.

Prayer and penance
The entire season of Lent should be observed in a spirit of prayer and penance. Spending extra time in prayer or Bible study, attending daily Mass, voluntary sacrifice and self-denial, combined with works of charity and service to others, are all excellent ways to obey the Lord's command to reform our lives and to prepare for the joyful celebration of Easter.  Parishes are highly encouraged to offer periods of Eucharistic Adoration during the Lenten Season, as well as, the traditional devotions of the Stations of the Cross and the recitation of the Rosary.

Sacrament of Penance
Again during the Season of Lent, Bishop LaValley encourages parishes throughout the Diocese to dedicate Tuesday of the fifth week of Lent (March 24) to the Sacrament of Penance as part of “The Light is on for You” program.  In addition, parishes might want to adopt the model of dedicating one Lenten evening each week to providing occasion for the Sacrament of Penance, as suggested for Advent.

Easter Duty
All Catholics who have reached the age of reason must confess their serious sins in the Sacrament of Penance at least once a year.  They must also receive Holy Communion at least once each year during the Easter season, which this year extends from Feb. 22, the First Sunday of Lent, until Trinity Sunday, May 31.

Although other seasons are more suitable, the celebration of marriage and the Nuptial Mass are not forbidden during Lent, according to The Code of Canon Law.  When liturgical rules permit, the Ritual Mass for the Celebration of Marriage may be used and the nuptial blessing may be given.  However, you should advise the spouses and their guests to exercise proper restraint in accord with the penitential character of Lent.

All Christ’s faithful are obliged by divine law to do penance.  The days set aside for fast and abstinence in Lent are special ways of doing penance and are an expression of unity for all the Church.

Chrism Mass
A reminder that this year’s Chrism Mass will be celebrated on Thursday, March 26 at 11 a.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Ogdensburg.  Details pertaining to this event will be forthcoming.

Funerals during Sacred Triduum
On Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, Funeral Masses may not be celebrated.  However, a Funeral Service consisting of the Liturgy of the Word and the Final Commendation may be held in Church.

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