2024 Important Dates & Events
Ash Wednesday, February 14th. Mass will be offered on Ash Wednesday at 8am, 5:30pm, and 7:30pm.
Spiritual Practices during Lent
- Stations of the Cross: Fridays during Lent, beginning February 16 through March 29 at 5:30 p.m.
- Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament: Tuesdays, 5:30pm-6:30pm
- Confession: Tuesdays 5:30-6:30 pm, Saturdays 3:30-4:30 pm
- Lenten Reconciliation Service: Tuesday, March 5 at 7:00 pm
Lenten Parish Retreat
- St. Bridget Parish Retreat: I Shall Return to My Father: Reflections on the Prodigal Son With Fr. Godfred Appiah-Marfo. Sunday, March 3rd, 7pm in Commons; Monday, March 4th, morning and evening sessions: 10am and 7pm in Commons. Reconciliation Service, Tuesday, March 5 at 7:00 pm. No registration necessary; the retreat is free and open to all.
Events, Studies, Enrichment Opportunities
Shrove Tuesday Dessert and Adoration Discussion with Deacon Charlie Giovannetti, February 13th, 6:30pm (after Adoration, which begins at 5:30pm)
Lenten Soup Supper & Stations of the Cross: Friday evenings, 2/16, 2/23, 3/1, 3/8 and 3/15. 5:30pm Stations of the Cross in Church, 6:30pm vegetarian soup supper in the Commons
Lenten Fish Fry - Friday, March 22: Serving begins after Stations of the Cross. Mother Presentation Hall. Sponsored by the Knights of Columbus with entertainment by the Hullabaloos.
This is My Body Book Study, Women’s Bible Study: March 13th, March 20th, and March 27th, 9am-10:30am, Church Hall
Into the Heights: A Young Adult Lenten Reflection & Hike: Into the Heights will take place on Saturday, March 16, 2024 at Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Crozet, Virginia. Register at: Into the Heights: A Young Adult Lenten Reflection & Hike – Evangelize Richmond The last day to register is Monday, March 11, 2024 at noon
- 40 Days for Life - Daily Prayer for the Unborn
Days of Abstinence
All Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence from Meat.
The three traditional disciplines of Lent are
The faithful and catechumens should undertake these practices seriously in a spirit of penance and of preparation for baptism or of renewal of baptism at Easter.
Fasting for those18-58 years old:
- Fasting is to be observed by all 18 years of age and older, who have not yet celebrated their 59th birthday.
- On a fast day one full meal is allowed.
- Two other meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to each one’s needs, but together they should not equal another full meal.
- Eating between meals is not permitted, but liquids, including milk and juices, are allowed.
Abstinence for those 14 years of age and older:
- On days of abstinence, no meat is allowed.
- Note that when health or ability to work would be seriously affected, the law does not oblige.
- When in doubt concerning fast and abstinence, the parish priest should be consulted.
An overview of the Triduum with reflection questions can be found here:
Click on the question to read the answer.
With thanks and acknowledgment to www.Americancatholic.org.
Dynamic Catholic: Best Lent Ever
Living Lent Daily From Loyola Press: Reflections based on the Scriptures of Lent.
Online: Retreats and Prayers
Creighton University: Praying Lent an Online Ministry
US Conference of Catholic Bishops: Learning about Lent in print, video, prayer and more
Bishop Robert Barron: Lenten Gospel Reflections
Catholic Relief Services: Stations of the Cross, narrated by Bishop Barron
Busted Halo: Virtual Stations of the Cross designed for young adults 18-35
Busted Halo: Ash Wednesday and Lent in Two Minutes
So what’s the story with LENT? In 1:15 minutes
US Conference of Catholic Bishops: An entire series of videos about Lent
Q: What does the word Lent mean?
A: It is from the Anglo-Saxon word lenten, which means spring. [From Modern Catholic Dictionary by John Hardon, S.J.]
Q: What determines the date Easter Sunday falls on or when Lent begins?
A: The Council of Nicaea, in 325 A.D., determined that Easter should be
celebrated the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring. To determine the beginning of Lent, count back six Sundays before Easter. The Wednesday before the first of these Sundays is Ash Wednesday.
Q: Why ashes?
A: Ash Wednesday liturgies are some of the best attended in the entire year. Some people suggest that is just because the Church is giving out something free, but I suspect there are deeper reasons! Ashes are an ancient symbol of repentance (sackcloth and ashes). They also remind us of our mortality ("remember that you are dust") and thus of the day when we will stand before God and be judged. This can be linked easily to the death and resurrection motif of Baptism. To prepare well for the day we die, we must die now to sin and rise to new life in Christ. Being marked with ashes at the beginning of Lent indicates our recognition of the need for deeper conversion of our lives during this season of renewal.
Q: What are the official rules regarding fasting and abstinence?
A: In 1966 Pope Paul VI reorganized the Church's practice of public penance in his "Apostolic Constitution on Penance" (Poenitemini). The 1983 revision of the Code of Canon Law incorporated the changes made by Pope Paul. Not long after that, the U.S. bishops applied the canonical requirements to the practice of public penance in our country.
To sum up those requirements, Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 are obliged to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. In addition, all Catholics 14 years old and older must abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all the Fridays of Lent.
Fasting as explained by the U.S. bishops means partaking of only one full meal. Some food (not equaling another full meal) is permitted at breakfast and around midday or in the evening—depending on when a person chooses to eat the main or full meal.
Abstinence forbids the use of meat, but not of eggs, milk products or condiments made of animal fat.
According to Father John Huels in The Pastoral Companion (Franciscan Herald Press), abstinence does not include meat juices and liquid foods made from meat. Thus, such foods as chicken broth, consomme, soups cooked or flavored with meat, meat gravies or sauces, as well as seasonings or condiments made from animal fat are not forbidden. So it is permissible to use margarine and lard.
See “What are the three pillars of Lent?” for part of the explanation of the purpose of fasting/abstinence.
Q: What feasts are celebrated during Lent?
A: Though Lenten liturgies take precedence on most weekdays, the Church celebrates the feasts of St. Patrick on Mar. 17 and St. Joseph on Mar. 19.
Q: Are Sundays considered a part of Lent?
Last year my Catholic co-workers and I disagreed over whether Sundays are considered part of Lent. Each year I give up sweets for Lent, but I have always understood that I could eat them on Sundays during Lent. Some of my co-workers disagree. With Lent starting soon, I would like to know who is right on this issue.
A: Technically, Sundays are not part of Lent. Although we celebrate them liturgically as part of Lent, the Lord's Day cannot be a day of fast and abstinence. Six weeks of Monday through Saturday gives you 36 days. If you add to them Ash Wednesday and the three days after it, you get the 40 days of Lent.
Some people may find it easier to "give up" something for the entire time between Ash Wednesday and Easter, but you are correct in saying that Sundays are not part of the 40 days.
Q: When does Lent end? What comes after that?
A: At sundown on Holy Thursday. When the sun goes down, we begin counting the three holiest days of our tradition, called the Triduum, which means “three days.” From sundown Thursday to sundown Friday is day one (counting days the same way our Jewish ancestors count them, from sundown to sundown), from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday is day two, and from sundown Saturday to sundown Sunday is day three.
Q: The Three pillars of Lent? Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving
A: The three traditional pillars of Lenten observance are prayer, fasting and almsgiving. The key to renewed appropriation of these practices is to see their link to baptismal renewal.
Prayer: More time given to prayer during Lent should draw us closer to the Lord. We might pray especially for the grace to live out our baptismal promises more fully. We might pray for the elect who will be baptized at Easter and support their conversion journey by our prayer. We might pray for all those who will celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation with us during Lent that they will be truly renewed in their baptismal commitment.
Fasting: Fasting is one of the most ancient practices linked to Lent. In fact, the paschal fast predates Lent as we know it. The early Church fasted intensely for two days before the celebration of the Easter Vigil. This fast was later extended and became a 40-day period of fasting leading up to Easter. Vatican II called us to renew the observance of the ancient paschal fast: "...let the paschal fast be kept sacred. Let it be celebrated everywhere on Good Friday and, where possible, prolonged throughout Holy Saturday, so that the joys of the Sunday of the Resurrection may be attained with uplifted and clear mind" (Liturgy, # 110).
Fasting is more than a means of developing self-control. It is often an aid to prayer, as the pangs of hunger remind us of our hunger for God. The first reading on the Friday after Ash Wednesday points out another important dimension of fasting. The prophet Isaiah insists that fasting without changing our behavior is not pleasing to God. "This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own" (Is 58:6-7).
Fasting should be linked to our concern for those who are forced to fast by their poverty, those who suffer from the injustices of our economic and political structures, those who are in need for any reason. Thus fasting, too, is linked to living out our baptismal promises. By our Baptism, we are charged with the responsibility of showing Christ's love to the world, especially to those in need. Fasting can help us realize the suffering that so many people in our world experience every day, and it should lead us to greater efforts to alleviate that suffering.
Abstaining from meat traditionally also linked us to the poor, who could seldom afford meat for their meals. It can do the same today if we remember the purpose of abstinence and embrace it as a spiritual link to those whose diets are sparse and simple. That should be the goal we set for ourselves—a sparse and simple meal. Avoiding meat while eating lobster misses the whole point!
Almsgiving: It should be obvious at this point that almsgiving, the third traditional pillar, is linked to our baptismal commitment in the same way. It is a sign of our care for those in need and an expression of our gratitude for all that God has given to us. Works of charity and the promotion of justice are integral elements of the Christian way of life we began when we were baptized.