Next Sunday, Palm Sunday, begins our Holy Week. This history of Palm Sunday is very interesting.
“Library : History of Palm Sunday | Catholic Culture
As soon as the Church obtained her freedom in the fourth century, the faithful in Jerusalem re-enacted the solemn entry of Christ into their city on the Sunday before Easter, holding a procession in which they carried branches and sang the Hosanna (Matthew 21, 1-11). In the early Latin Church, people attending Mass on this Sunday would hold aloft twigs of olives, which were not, however, blessed in those days.” To read more, go to: https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=105
Just a reminder: Taken from ArchGH.org – The Daily Vine
“This year, St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Lenten Friday. After consideration of the traditions often related to this festive holiday, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo is granting a dispensation of abstinence from meat on March 17 for local and visiting faithful in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. Cardinal DiNardo is asking Catholics who are required to abstain from meat on Friday to do an extra act of charity or penance in exchange for eating meat.”
Bishop David L. Ricken of Green Bay, Wisconsin, former chairman of the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), offers “10 Things to Remember for Lent”:
Remember the formula. The Church does a good job capturing certain truths with easy-to-remember lists and formulas: 10 Commandments, 7 sacraments, 3 persons in the Trinity. For Lent, the Church gives us almost a slogan—Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving—as the three things we need to work on during the season.
It’s a time of prayer. Lent is essentially an act of prayer spread out over 40 days. As we pray, we go on a journey, one that hopefully brings us closer to Christ and leaves us changed by the encounter with him.
It’s a time to fast. With the fasts of Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, meatless Fridays, and our personal disciplines interspersed, Lent is the only time many Catholics these days actually fast. And maybe that’s why it gets all the attention. “What are you giving up for Lent? Hotdogs? Beer? Jelly beans?” It’s almost a game for some of us, but fasting is actually a form of penance, which helps us turn away from sin and toward Christ.
It’s a time to work on discipline. The 40 days of Lent are also a good, set time to work on personal discipline in general. Instead of giving something up, it can be doing something positive. “I’m going to exercise more. I’m going to pray more. I’m going to be nicer to my family, friends and coworkers.”
It’s about dying to yourself. The more serious side of Lenten discipline is that it’s about more than self-control – it’s about finding aspects of yourself that are less than Christ-like and letting them die. The suffering and death of Christ are foremost on our minds during Lent, and we join in these mysteries by suffering, dying with Christ and being resurrected in a purified form.
Don’t do too much. It’s tempting to make Lent some ambitious period of personal reinvention, but it’s best to keep it simple and focused. There’s a reason the Church works on these mysteries year after year. We spend our entire lives growing closer to God. Don’t try to cram it all in one Lent. That’s a recipe for failure.
Lent reminds us of our weakness. Of course, even when we set simple goals for ourselves during Lent, we still have trouble keeping them. When we fast, we realize we’re all just one meal away from hunger. In both cases, Lent shows us our weakness. This can be painful, but recognizing how helpless we are makes us seek God’s help with renewed urgency and sincerity.
Be patient with yourself. When we’re confronted with our own weakness during Lent, the temptation is to get angry and frustrated. “What a bad person I am!” But that’s the wrong lesson. God is calling us to be patient and to see ourselves as he does, with unconditional love.
Reach out in charity. As we experience weakness and suffering during Lent, we should be renewed in our compassion for those who are hungry, suffering or otherwise in need. The third part of the Lenten formula is almsgiving. It’s about more than throwing a few extra dollars in the collection plate; it’s about reaching out to others and helping them without question as a way of sharing the experience of God’s unconditional love.
Learn to love like Christ. Giving of ourselves in the midst of our suffering and self-denial brings us closer to loving like Christ, who suffered and poured himself out unconditionally on cross for all of us. Lent is a journey through the desert to the foot of the cross on Good Friday, as we seek him out, ask his help, join in his suffering, and learn to love like him.
When it comes to practicing our faith, Lent is a time of heightened intensity. With Lent upon us, I’m pleased to offer these 40 Lenten activities.
40 Ideas for 40 Days calendarThese activities come from a variety of sources: from my own experience as a catechist, from various websites that I credit accordingly, and from catechists like you who shared their creative ideas with me. The activities are grounded in the symbols, Scripture readings, devotions, and traditions of the Lenten season. Be sure to check this calendar each day to find another Lenten activity that you can adapt for your own setting.
May this Lent be a time of heightened focus on faith formation for you and for those you teach!
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As a diocesan catechetical director, I write a message for parents annually. My intent in this effort is always to provide some manner of evangelizing formation for parents that will resonate with who they are and where they are at, collectively. I figure that if I can speak their language, they may actually give me a hearing. My hope is to be able to invite them into a deeper relationship with God, the Church and their parish…for themselves, first…and then for their children.
Parish catechetical leaders in this diocese are asked to provide it to parents in these days as Lent approaches. You’ll notice that I did not provide specific directions in which to send them for resources, authors, etc. It became apparent to me that this would be expanding the tone and scope of the letter beyond a rather core, simple practical message. To address this, I’ve asked parish catechetical leaders to consider providing specific guidance for their parents to grow in faith, with an encouragement to utilize digital means (links and such) since our parents live on their devices. I’m encouraging them to look at email and social media for delivery of good faith content to them.
I’m pleased to be able to share this Lent 2017 message with you for two reasons. It gives you a sense of how one might attempt to engage in evangelizing catechesis with parents. And, it might inspire you in your Lent messaging of parents and others this year. (Please feel free to borrow liberally from my message if it would be helpful…or even share it outright.) May the Holy Spirit accompany you in your efforts to foster conversion in parents and all adults!
In Slavic countries the blessing of Easter foods was an important tradition. In some places the blessing of special Easter food takes place on Holy Saturday. Among the Slovaks a basket containing lamb meat (which of course signifies Jesus, the Lamb of God), boiled eggs, dyed and plain, Pascha (a special Easter bread), and other foods, is taken to the church in the afternoon where the priest blesses it, using the prayer.
Bless, O Lord, this creation that it may be a means of salvation to the human race, And grant that, by the invocation of Thy Holy Name, it may promote health of body, and salvation of soul in those who partake of it, through Christ our Lord.
Busted Halo® has created a series of virtual stations designed for personal devotion. These stations relate to Jesus’ teachings about the Kingdom of God and the reason his vision of this Kingdom led to his death. Find a quiet place to watch these stations, and as you do the devotions be open to how God is speaking to you through the Stations of the Cross.
Images of the Stations of the Cross from the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C., were created by Pittsburgh artist Virgil Cantini and courtesy of Catholic News Service and photographer Bob Roller.
” For these Forty Days we are conscious of how we must sharpen our senses and focus mind and heart on the Reign of God. We are, above all, aware of those waters in which we were baptized into Christ’s death. We died to sin and evil and began a new life in Christ. The waters of Baptism wait at Lent’s end for the catechumens, but we are called to renew our Baptism as well.” (From the USCCB Catechetical Corner) https://usccb.force.com/MN4__mnp_viewresource?id=a1I1A00000ZlUmrUAF