The Season of Lent (Feb. 18-April 1)

“During this Lent, let us all ask the Lord: Make our hearts like yours. In this way we will receive a heart which is firm and merciful, attentive and generous, a heart which is not closed, indifferent or prey to the globalization of indifference.”

– Pope Francis, 2015 Lenten message

Lent is one of the most important liturgical seasons of the Catholic Church. Beginning on Ash Wednesday and continuing through Holy Thursday right before the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the Church calls us to pray, fast and give alms, preparing our hearts for the Holy Triduum, when we celebrate our salvation in the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Here are the Traditional Pillars and Observations of Lent

Fasting

Oftentimes, you will hear Catholics say that they are “giving up” something for Lent. Traditionally, this fasting has been one of the foremost ways in which Catholics express their desire to share in Christ’s suffering; however, it can also be a means of growing closer to God as they turn away from activities and things that keep them from knowing and embracing his mercy and love.

Here are the guidelines for Fasting.

Almsgiving

The giving of alms is some effort to share this world equally—not only through the distribution of money, but through the sharing of our time and talents. One way to give alms is to participate in the Catholic Charities of Central Florida HOPE Lenten food drive.

Sacrament of Penance

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines reconciliation as the sacramental celebration in which, through God’s mercy and forgiveness, the sinner is reconciled with God and also with the Church, Christ’s body, which is wounded by sin. March 30 has been designated as the Day of Reconciliation at parishes in Diocese of Orlando. Click here for more information.

Stations of the Cross

Through the devotional practice of Stations of the Cross, Catholics trace Jesus’ journey from his trial before Pilate to the laying of his body in the tomb. Inside most Catholic Churches, Jesus’ journey to the cross is marked by a series of 14 images or small crosses, known as the Stations of the Cross. The faithful walk from station to station for prayer and reflection centered on the image of the station.

Journey to the faith

As much as Lent is a penitential season, it is also a season of spring, as the “elect” of the Church – men and women who are preparing to become Roman Catholic– begin an intense period of preparation to receive the Sacraments of Initiation — Baptism, First Holy Eucharist, and Confirmation. This Final Initiation phase takes place during the celebration of the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday, April 4.

To learn more about becoming Catholic, contact Valeta Orlando, Manager of Adult Ministry, 407-246-4911 or vorlando@orlandodiocese.org

Prayer for Lent

All through these days let us be quiet and prayerful,
Pondering the mysteries told in the Scriptures. In the Cross,
we have been claimed for Christ. In Christ, we make the prayer
that fills these days of mercy.

Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers

Pope Francis’ Lenten Message 2015 

Ideas for observing this penitential season from the USCCB 

From the Diocese of Orlando Office of Liturgy: Liturgy Advisory for Lent and Easter