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Lent: Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord!

"Yet even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the LORD, your God. For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment." Joel 2

"Through its twofold theme of repentance and Baptism, the season of Lent disposes both the Catechumens and the faithful to celebrate the Paschal Mystery. Catechumens are led to the Sacraments of Initiation by means of the Rite of Election, the Scrutinies, and catechesis. The faithful, listening more intently to the Word of God and devoting themselves to prayer, are prepared through a spirit of repentance to renew their Baptismal Promises." Ceremonial of Bishops, 249

There are many common Questions about Lent.

Norms for Fasting and Abstinence

Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fasting and abstinence. Fridays of Lent are also days of abstinence.

Fasting is to be observed by all 18 years of age and older, who have not yet celebrated their 59th birthday. On a fast day one full meal is allowed. Two other meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to each one’s needs, but together they should not equal another full meal. Eating between meals is not permitted, but liquids, including milk and juices, are allowed.

Abstinence is observed by all 14 years of age and older. On days of abstinence, no meat is allowed. Note that when health or ability to work would be seriously affected, Church law does not oblige. When in doubt concerning fast and abstinence, the Parish Priest should be consulted.

Fasting, almsgiving, and prayer are the three traditional disciplines of Lent. The faithful and Catechumens (those preparing for Baptism at the Easter Vigil) should undertake these practices seriously in a spirit of penance and of preparation for Initiation into the Church or the renewal of Baptism Promises at Easter.

Lenten Spiritual Practices

Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation

The renewal of our baptismal promises is the goal of Lent. All our Lenten activities should move us toward this goal. So when we go to Confession during Lent, it has an added significance. Our Lenten Confessions should prepare us to reject Satan, all his works, and all his empty promises and to make a deep act of faith in the Father, Son, and Spirit.

Stations of the Cross

From the "Manual of Indulgences" we are instructed that the faithful receive a Plenary Indulgence for making the Stations of the Cross, under the usual conditions. See the website section Devotions/Indulgences or one of the parish priests for more information.

5:30 pm Fridays of Lent ending the Friday before Palm Sunday.

Six Fridays of Lent

From the "Manual of Indulgences" we are instructed that the faithful receive a Plenary Indulgence for reciting the prayer "En ego, O bone et dulcissime Iesu", under the usual conditions. This is said at all Masses. See one of the parish priests for more information.

Liturgy of the Hours

Pope John Paul II made the Liturgy of the Hours a key part of renewing the Church in the Third Millennium. He has warmly invited the laity to join in the praying of the Liturgy of the Hours. He also granted a plenary indulgence to those who pray Evening or Night Prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. For more information see n. 34 of Novo Millenio Inuente.

6:40 am Morning Prayer: 5th Sunday of Lent to Easter Sunday inclusive.

6:00 pm Evening Prayer: 5th Sunday Lent (First Vespers, i.e. Saturday evening) to Wednesday of Holy Week inclusive.

Litany of Saint Joseph

A Litany is a form of responsory prayer which involves a number of invocations or petitions grouped around one main subject or sacred theme. The month of March is dedicated to St Joseph, foster father of our Lord, and Protector of the Universal Church. At all weekday Masses, the Litany of St. Joseph is recited from the "Manual of Indulgences" published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The RCIA Journey

The Rite of Christian Initiation for adults is a journey involving the whole community. In Lent, as the catechumens and candidates join the Church in increased introspection and turning from sin, all Epiphany Parish prays for them. For more information about Epiphany RCIA see Adult Faith Formation under the "Learning" tab.

office@epiphanyparish.com 1000 East College Avenue, Normal, Illinois 61761 (309) 452-2585