is a season of soul-searching and repentance.
It is a season for reflection and taking stock.
Lent originated in the very earliest days of the Church as a preparatory time for Easter, when the faithful rededicated themselves and when converts were instructed in the faith and prepared for baptism.
By observing the forty days of Lent, the individual Christian imitates Jesus’ withdrawal into the wilderness for forty days.
Prayer + Fasting + Almsgiving
The three traditional pillars of Lenten observance are prayer, fasting and almsgiving. These pillars should be practiced in relationship to our 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 those 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 (deliberately saying “no” to our desires for satisfaction) is one of the most ancient practices linked to Lent. In fact, the paschal fast predates Lent as we know it. 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. 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.
Almsgiving: It should be obvious at this point that almsgiving (giving to the poor), 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. Please consider participating and making your contribution to OPERATION RICE BOWL (offering containers can be found in the narthex of the Church).
Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of FAST and ABSTINENCE. This means that we do not eat meat and we have only one full meal.
The other FRIDAYS of the season of Lent are also days of ABSTINENCE from meat. This obligation to abstain from meat binds Catholics 14 years of age and older. The obligation to FAST, limiting to one full meal and two lighter meals in the course of the day, binds Catholics from the age of 18-59. Those who are younger or older may freely embrace these disciplines. Lenten disciplines should never endanger your health.
The Fridays of the year outside of Lent are also days of penance. Abstaining from meat is the traditional way of observing these days of penance; however, each person is free to replace this with some other practice of voluntary self-denial or personal penance.
It is obvious that abstaining from meat is meaningless to vegetarians; it is equally obvious that replacing meat with a gourmet seafood meal is not in keeping with the SPIRIT OF LENTEN PENANCE. Abstinence from meat on the other Fridays of the year may be replaced with time spent reading and studying the Scriptures, special prayers, thoughtfulness and charity to those in need, or acts of personal witness to one’s faith.
While the season of Lent is the primary period of Catholic penitential practices, these regulations are not intended to limit the occasion for Christian penance. The practice of spiritual discipline is always appropriate during periods of special need for the individual and the larger community.
Ash Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Ash Wednesday is a day of FAST and ABSTINENCE
Masses: 8:30 AM and 7:00 PM Ashes are distributed after the sermon at both Masses.
A national collection for Aid for the Churches of Central and Eastern Europe is taken up at the Ash Wednesday Masses.
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 8:30 AM in the Chapel
Saturday 5:00 PM in the Church
Sunday 8:00 AM and 10:30 AM in the Church
Every Friday during Lent and throughout the year, the Blessed Sacrament is exposed for individual adoration following the 8:30 AM Mass until 10:00 AM.
Stations of the Cross
When we pray the Stations of the Cross, we recall the passion and death of Jesus Christ and we are reminded that we, too, may be called to suffer in order to be faithful to the call of God.
A variety of settings of the Stations of the Cross will be presented on all Thursdays of Lent (not on Holy Thursday) in the Chapel following the 8:30 AM Mass.
A special Way of the Cross for Children will be celebrated on Monday, April 18, at 4:00 PM.
“Mary’s Way of the Cross” will take place on Sunday, April 10, at 4:00 PM.
Our parish Youth Ministry will sponsor The Way of the Cross for Young Adults on Friday, March 25, at 6:00 PM.
Luncheon & Stations of the Cross for Women
Monday, March 14, at 12:00 noon
Join other women of our parish for a soup & bread luncheon followed by The Stations of the Cross led by Sr. Harriet and Cindy Ossola.
Please RSVP to the parish office by Thursday, March 10 and indicate if you can bring some soup or bread.
Adult Faith Formation
Each Monday morning of Lent, adult parishioners will gather with Fr. Dennis after morning Mass for coffee and reflection on some of the major Lenten themes of the Church. For the first 4 Mondays, we will view and discuss the Lenten series: A Lenten Journey with Fr. Michael Himes, SJ. In this series, the noted Boston College professor of spirituality reflects on themes including: what is temptation?; danger and desire; God sees into the heart; “endless possibilities.” The final two sessions will explore the “divided heart” – the battle in us all between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Self! Sessions begin Monday March 14.
Lent is the primary time for celebrating the Sacrament of Penance, because Lent is the season for baptismal preparation and baptismal renewal.
Early Christian teachers called this sacrament "second Baptism," because it is intended to enable us to start again to live the baptismal life in its fullness.
Those who experience the loving mercy of God in the Sacrament of Reconciliation should find themselves standing alongside the newly baptized at Easter filled with great joy at the new life God has given all of us.
Individual Confessions will be heard every Saturday afternoon from 3:45 – 4:30 PM in the Confession Room in the back of the Church.
Special Reconciliation Service with Individual Confessions at St. Charles Church with Fr. Dennis and guest Confessors on Sunday afternoon, March 27, at 3:00 PM
Guide for Examination of Conscience for Confession of Sins
6 STEPS FOR A GOOD CONFESSION
• Examine your conscience - what sins have you committed since your last good confession.
• Be sincerely sorry for your sins.
• Confess your sins to the priest.
• Make certain that you confess all your mortal sins and the number of them.
• After your confession, do the penance the priest gives to you.
• Pray daily for the strength to avoid the occasion of sin, especially for those sins you were just absolved from.
ACT OF CONTRITION
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended You, and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell, but most of all because they offend You, my God, Who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.
"I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before Me." (Ex 20:2,3)
• Did I doubt or deny that God exists? Did I refuse to believe what God as revealed to us? Did I believe in fortune telling, horoscopes, dreams, the occult, good-luck charms, tarot cards, palmistry, Ouija boards, seances, reincarnation? Did I deny that I was Catholic? Did I leave the Catholic Faith? Did I give time to God each day in prayer? Did I love God with my whole heart? Did I have false gods in my life that I gave greater attention to than God, like money, profession, drugs, TV, fame, pleasure, property, etc.?
"You shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain." (Ex 20:7)
• Did I blaspheme or insult God? Did I take God's name carelessly or uselessly? Did I curse, or break an oath or vow? Did I get angry with God?
"Remember that you keep holy the Sabbath Day." (Ex 20:8)
• Did I miss Mass Sunday or a Holy Day of Obligation through my own fault? Did I come to Mass on time? Leave early? Did I do work on Sunday that was not necessary? Did I set aside Sunday as a day of rest and a family day? Did I show reverence in the presence of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament?
"Honor your father and your mother." (Ex 20:12)
• Did I disobey or disrespect my parents or legitimate superiors? Did I neglect my duties to my husband, wife, children or parents? Did I neglect to give good religious example to my family? Did I fail to actively take an interest in the religious education and formation of my children? Did I fail to educate myself on the true teachings of the Church? Did I give scandal by what I said or did, especially to the young? Did I cause anyone to leave the faith? Did I cause tension and fights in my family? Did I care for my aged and infirm relatives? Did I give a full day's work for a full day's pay? Did I give a fair wage to my employees?
"You shall not kill." (Ex 20:13)
• Did I kill or physically injure anyone? Did I have an abortion, or advise someone else to have an abortion? Was I selfish in my marriage and not opened to the procreation of children? Did I attempt suicide? Did I take part in or approve of "mercy killing" (euthanasia)? Did I get angry, impatient, envious, unkind, proud, revengeful, jealous, hateful toward another, lazy? Did I give bad example by drug abuse, drinking alcohol to excess, fighting, quarreling? Did I abuse my children?
SIXTH COMMANDMENT & NINTH COMMANDMENTS
"You shall not commit adultery." (Ex 20:14) "You shall not covet your neighbor's wife." (Ex 20:17)
• Did I use impure or suggestive words? Tell impure stories? Listen to them? Did I willfully entertain impure thoughts or desires? Did I deliberately seek out and view pornography? Or deliberately read impure materials? Did I commit impure acts by myself (masturbation)? Did I commit impure acts with another - fornication (premarital sex), adultery (sex with a married person)? Did I marry or advise anyone to marry outside the Church? Did I avoid the occasions of impurity? Did I try to control my thoughts? Did I engage in homosexual activity? Did I respect all members of the opposite sex, or have I thought of other people as objects? Did I abuse my marriage rights?
& TENTH COMMANDMENTS
"You shall not steal." (Ex 20:15) "You shall not covet your neighbor's goods." (Ex 20:17)
• Did I steal, cheat, help or encourage others to steal or keep stolen goods? Have I made restitution for stolen goods? Did I fulfill my contracts; give or accept bribes; pay my bills; rashly gamble or speculate; deprive my family of the necessities of life? Did I waste time at work, school or at home? Did I envy other people's families or possessions? Did I make material possessions the purpose of my life?
"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." (Ex 20:16)
• Did I lie ? Did I deliberately deceive others, or injure others by lies? Did I commit perjury? Did I gossip or reveal others' faults or sins? Did I fail to keep secret what should be confidential?
OTHER SINS AGAINST THE COMMANDMENTS OF THE CHURCH
• Did I fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday? Did I deliberately eat meat on the Fridays of Lent or Ash Wednesday? Did I fail to receive Holy Communion during Eastertime? Did I go to Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin? Without fasting (water and medicine permitted) for one hour from food and drink? Did I deliberately make a bad confession? Did I fail to contribute to the support of the Church?