As we quickly approach the season of Lent, it can seem all too easy to be complacent and give up the “normal” things. All Catholic adults are directed to give up meat on Fridays and Ash Wednesday. Then perhaps you give up chocolate or dessert. But this year, let’s take extra care to make a sacrifice that will challenge us. And don’t just give something up — think of what you can add to make your Lent richer and more prayerful. Commit to making this Lent the best one yet so you can fully celebrate the joy of the Easter season.
“Lent is a time of conversion,” Fr. O’Brien says. “We all need it. During the season of Lent, there’s a sense of urgency to conform our lives in a deeper way to the life of Christ.”
Easter is the most important season in the Catholic Church. The church gives us the gift of Lent so we can be intentional about preparing for the Easter season.
“Lent helps us prepare for Easter,” Fr. O’Brien says. “Lent is special because it offers us an opportunity to deepen our faith and to allow Jesus to bring about a deeper conversion in our own lives and in the life of our family and parish.”
Here at St. Francis Xavier, watch for extra opportunities to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation — you should make a point to participate in this sacrament before Easter. On Fridays, you can pray the Stations of the Cross in English or Spanish. After the Stations of the Cross, attendees can enjoy a meat-free meal and Bingo.
On March 11, we celebrate the sixth anniversary of our church. This is a solemnity for our parish.
Fr. O’Brien offers some practical advice for Lent — take more time to pray. You can pray during Eucharistic Adoration — offered at the St. Teresa of Calcutta Chapel from 9 a.m. on Wednesdays to 5 p.m. on Thursdays. You can also pray during Mass, at home alone or with family. Of course, don’t miss your Sunday Mass obligation, and take the time to attend a weekday Mass or two.
“Pray more — we can all pray more,” Fr. O’Brien says. “Giving things up is fine and can be good, but nothing will benefit your life more, here and in eternity, than a life of prayer.”
Find ways to serve others this Lent, whether that’s someone in your family or those in the community. Like Fr. O’Brien says, as Catholics, “it’s what we do.”
“When we sacrifice for others and give alms, our aim is to help those around us,” he says. “We practice the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. We do what we can.”