Are YOU ready for LENT?

2/11/2013 –Read Pope Benedict XVI’s Message for Lent 2013. –Read Pope Paul VI’s Apostolic Constitution Paenitemini (1966), which governs the penitential discipline of the Church. –Read the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Pastoral Statement on Penance and Abstinence (1966), which applies that universal discipline to the United States and offers recommendations for Lent. Responses to frequently asked questions regarding Lenten practices Relevant FAITH FACTS Faith Facts are concise presentations of Church teachings and disciplines in areas of faith, morals, and liturgy. Lent: Discipline and History Where does the observance of Lent come from? Daily Penance, Days of Penance What are they, and … Continue reading

Ask CUF – March/April 2008

CUF From the Mar/Apr 2008 Issue of Lay Witness Magazine The Days of Lent Why does Lent last 40 days? The number 40 appears at a number of points in salvation history. The period of the flood in Genesis 7 was 40 days. Israel wandered 40 years in the desert (Ex. 16:35; Num. 32:13), and Moses fasted on the mountain of God 40 days and nights (24:18). Elijah fasted at Mount Horeb (1 Kings 19:8). Nineveh was given 40 days to repent (Jon. 3:4). Jesus fasted in the desert before His temptation. The Forty Hours Devotion honors the 40 hours … Continue reading

Rise, and Do Not Be Afraid

February 17, 2008 Readings for the 2nd Sunday of Lent Reading 1: Gen. 12:1–4a Responsorial Psalm: Ps. 33:4–5, 18–19, 20, 22 Reading 2: 2 Tim. 1:8b–10 Gospel: Mt. 17:1–9 Link to Readings By Father Robert Pecotte Lent is a time of growth in the Church (the word “Lent” is of Teutonic origin and means spring). It is a time to weed and water the garden of our soul with the Holy Faith and with self-denial. In order for Lent to lead to new growth in holiness, we need to detach ourselves from sin and be attached to God through His … Continue reading

Lent – Discipline and History

Issue: How did Lent arise? What is its current discipline, and what is its history? Discussion: In 1741, a year after his election to the See of Peter, Pope Benedict XIV wrote eloquently on the importance of Lent: The observance of Lent is the very badge of the Christian warfare. By it we prove ourselves not to be enemies of the Cross of Christ. By it we avert the scourges of divine justice. By it we gain strength against the princes of darkness, for it shields us with heavenly help. Should mankind grow remiss in their observance of Lent, it would be … Continue reading

Salt Dough Recipe for Crown of Thorns and other crafts

This simple recipe can be used for Christmas ornaments as well as the Lenten project mentioned by Stacy Mitch in her article “Hearts at Home: Living the Liturgy as Preparation for Our Heavenly Home” in the November/December ’06 issue of Lay Witness. On Ash Wednesday, follow the instructions below to make a salt dough crown of thorns with your children, anticipating Lenten sacrifices your family hopes to make. Place the crown in a prominent place in your home; it makes an excellent centerpiece for your dining room table, and placing it upon a royal purple cloth has a striking effect. … Continue reading

Daily Penance, Days of Penance

Issue: What does the Church teach about daily penance? What are the days of penance, and how ought Catholics to observe them? Response: As part of our response to Christ’s exhortation to repent, the Church urges us to live penitentially every day. While Catholics are called to do penance primarily in daily life, the Church has established special days of penance—all Fridays and the season of Lent—on which Catholics are called to pray, fast, and perform works of charity. The laws of fast and abstinence bind Catholics of certain ages on certain days of penance. Discussion: Repentance is at the … Continue reading

Daily Penance, Days of Penance

CUF From the May/June 2006 Issue of Lay Witness Magazine Issue: What does the Church teach about daily penance? What are the days of penance, and how ought Catholics to observe them? Response: As part of our response to Christ’s exhortation to repent, the Church urges us to live penitentially every day. While Catholics are called to do penance primarily in daily life, the Church has established special days of penance-all Fridays and the season of Lent-on which Catholics are called to pray, fast, and perform works of charity. The laws of fast and abstinence bind Catholics of certain ages … Continue reading

Lenten Traditions Within the Home

ISSUE: How can families better live the spirit of Lent and Easter in their homes? RESPONSE: The Catholic Church has designated the liturgical season of Lent to be a period of 40 days, not including Sundays. It begins on Ash Wednesday and ends with Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday. It is a period of fasting and self-denial, for we imitate Christ’s fasting for 40 days and 40 nights before His temptation by the devil (Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 538-40). Pope Gregory I described Lent as “the spiritual tithing of the year.” The liturgical season of Easter … Continue reading

Why Catholics Abstain

ISSUE: Why do Catholics fast? What did Jesus teach about fasting? Is fasting still an obligation for Catholics? RESPONSE: Fasting is a “spiritual exercise” by which we repent of our sins and strive to become more Christ-like as sons and daughters of God (Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 1438, 2043; cf. Rom. 8:14-17). While Jesus cautioned against prideful fasting (Mt. 6:1-5, 16-18), He Himself fasted (Lk. 4:1-2) and encouraged others to do so to advance His Kingdom (Mt. 17:21). From her inception, the Church has followed Christ’s example regarding fasting. She continues to require the faithful to fast and … Continue reading

Baptism for Infants

ISSUE: May people be baptized during Lent? RESPONSE: Because Lent is a time of preparation for catechumens and Easter the most important feast of the Church year, the Church has designated that the Easter Vigil or Easter Sunday be the ordinary time for baptism of adults.[1] Such specific norms do not exist for the baptism of infants and children, although most U.S. Bishops have adopted the practice of deferring such baptisms to Easter Sunday. However, in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), the Church says that, “for unusual circumstances and pastoral needs,” adult baptismal preparation may take place … Continue reading