The three traditional pillars of Lent are prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Through the three pillars of Lent we journey to develop a closer relationship to God. The 40 days of Lent should be filled with reflection, service and prayer.
Lenten Pillar of PRAYER
Often times the most overlooked pillar of Lent is prayer. There are so many wonderful ways to pray during Lent. 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 the elect 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.
The Prayer Intention Box
As part of continuing effort to encourage prayer at Saint Patrick Catholic Church, the parish is providing a Prayer Intention Box. Individuals who have a special intention and would like the parish faith community to pray for the intention are invited to write the intention on a note card and place it in the Prayer Box, located in the vestibule of the Church before Mass. During the Offertory at Mass, the prayers will be brought forth, along with the bread and wine. The prayer intentions will be included in the general Prayers of the Faithful. You can also submit a prayer request through the parish website on the Prayer Line Ministry page with the click of a button or via Prayer Requests button on myParish app from an a mobile phone.
More Ways to Pray
Stations of the Cross
Consider Stations of the Cross on Friday evenings— a popular Lenten devotion. The 14 devotions, or stations, focus on specific events of His last day, beginning with His condemnation. The stations are commonly used as a mini pilgrimage as the individual moves from station to station. At each station, the individual recalls and meditates on a specific event from Christ’s last day. Specific prayers are recited, then the individual moves to the next station until all 14 are complete.
Check Your Guide to Lent in the Year of Mercy flyer for the schedule of Stations of the Cross and Reconciliation. Some nights Stations is preceeded by a Soup Supper or a Fish Fry. Stations will not be held on Friday, March 11, 2016 at 7 P.M. instead join the faith community for a Healing Mass.
Lenten Pillar of FASTING
On all Fridays during Lent, all persons fourteen and older are bound by the law of abstinence— not eating meat. On Good Friday, all those who are eighteen, and not yet fifty-nine, are also bound by the law of fasting— one main meal, two small meals and nothing in between.
Fasting Can Lead to Almsgiving
Voluntarily abstaining from other foods or making an offering to charity of the money they would have otherwise spent for food or drink is encouraged.
Consider donating the money saved to CRS Rice Bowl or support the Dominican Sisters of Tacoma at the First Annual Lenten Fish Fry Dinner hosted by the Knights of Columbus Tacoma Council 809 on March 18, 2016 at 5 PM in the Church Hall at Saint Patrick Catholic Church.
Lenten Pillar of Almsgving
When we think of almsgiving with think of donating money. Almsgiving extends beyond money we might give to CRS Rice Bowl when we forgo restuarant meals during Lent or the contribution we make to the Dominican Sisters of Tacoma at the Fish Fry Dinner in support of thier continued care. Almsgiving encompasses our time and talent given freely to be Jesus in disguise. Jesus identified himself with our poorest brothers and sisters.
Almsgiving in the Year of Mercy
Consider the Works of Mercy as a ways to give. The Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy are actions we can perform that extend God’s compassion and mercy to those in need. “Faith finds expression in concrete everyday actions meant to help our neighbors in body and spirit,” said Pope Francis in his message for Lent. The Pope encourages all to feed the hungry, visit the sick, welcome strangers, offer instruction and give comfort.
The Corporal Works of Mercy
The Corporal Works of Mercy are these kind acts by which we help our neighbors with their material and physical needs.
- feed the hungry
- give drink to the thirsty
- clothe the naked
- shelter the homeless
- visit the sick
- visit the imprisoned
- bury the dead
The Spiritual Works of Mercy
The Spiritual Works of Mercy are acts of compassion, as listed below, by which we help our neighbors with their emotional and spiritual needs.
- counsel the doubtful
- instruct the ignorant
- admonish sinners
- comfort the afflicted
- forgive offenses
- bear wrongs patiently
- pray for the living and the dead
The USCCB offers suggestions and words of advice for living the Corporal Works of Mercy out in our daily lives.
Preparing and Journeying Together Through Lent
We are not called to do only one, but all three pillars to prepare our hearts for Christ on Easter. As Catholics we take up the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving every year. These practices help us to remember the merciful love and compassion that God shows all people. Participating in these practices, we journey with our community and God and toward the celebration of the Paschal Mystery of our Lord. We do not make this journey alone. The whole Church prepares for the celebration and together, along with those who are preparing to enter the Church at the Easter Vigil, we try to live more faithfully to God’s call to be merciful, loving, and compassionate to those around us. Our acts of love through sacrifice and prayer are a tangible witness of God’s love to those around us.