Lent begins Feb. 14
The 2018 Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14, for Latin-rite Catholics with Easter Sunday on April 1.
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops asks that during Lent, we devote ourselves to seeking the Lord in prayer and reading Scripture, to service by giving alms and to sacrifice self-control through fasting. Many know of the tradition of abstaining from meat on Fridays during Lent, but we are also called to practice self-discipline and fast in other ways throughout the season. Contemplate the meaning and origins of the Lenten fasting tradition in this reflection.
In addition, the giving of alms is one way to share God's gifts — not only through the distribution of money, but through the sharing of our time and talents. As St. John Chrysostom reminds us: "Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs."
In Lent, the baptized are called to renew their baptismal commitment as others prepare to be baptized through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, a period of learning and discernment for individuals who have declared their desire to become Catholics.
The key to fruitful observance of these practices is to recognize their link to baptismal renewal. We are called not just to abstain from sin during Lent, but to true conversion of our hearts and minds as followers of Christ. We recall those waters in which we were baptized into Christ's death, died to sin and evil, and began new life in Christ.
Catholics are also encouraged to make going to confession a significant part of their spiritual lives during Lent.
The following regulations regarding fasting and abstinence are observed in the United States:
Catholics ages 14 and over are to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all Fridays of Lent.
Individuals between 18 and 59 are also obliged to fast — eat one full meal — on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Eating two smaller meals is permitted to maintain strength, but eating between meals is not.
These obligations, however, do not apply to those whose health or ability to work would be seriously affected.
Feb. 9 to March 16
Lenten Scripture Study with Father Charles Talley, OFM. 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Fridays at San Damiano Retreat, 710 Highland Drive, Danville. Father Charles will discuss the Sunday readings of Lent in advance of when they will be heard at Mass. Cost is $5 per session and optional lunch is available for $15. Information/registration: go to www.sandamiano.org or 925-837-9141, ext. 315.
Wednesday, Feb. 14
Ash Wednesday Day of Reflection with Father Rusty Shaughnessy, OFM. 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at San Damiano Retreat, 710 Highland Drive, Danville. $40 cost includes lunch, Mass and distribution of ashes. Information/registration: go to www.sandamiano.org or 925-837-9141, ext. 315.
Ash Wednesday Day of Retreat. 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos, 300 Manresa Way, Los Altos. Non-silent retreat for women and men. We come together to enter into Lent intentionally, prayerfully and openly. A continental breakfast will be available at 9:30 a.m., and lunch at noon. $80. Information/reservations: email@example.com.
Ash Wednesday Prayer Service. 1:30 p.m. in Mercy Chapel at Mercy Center, 2300 Adeline Drive, Burlingame. 650-340-7474.
Ash Wednesday Evening of Reflection with Father Charles Talley, OFM. 5:30 to 8 p.m. at San Damiano Retreat, 710 Highland Dr., Danville. $25 cost includes dinner, prayer reflection and distribution of ashes. Information/registration: go to www.sandamiano.org or 925-837-9141, ext. 315.
Feb. 16, 23, March 2
St. Philip Neri-St. Albert the Great Fish Fry dinners. Fridays of Lent after Stations of the Cross at St. Philip Neri Church, High Street at Van Buren Street, Alameda. Stations of the Cross begin at 5:30 p.m. Doors of Msgr. O'Brien Hall will be opened upon conclusion of the Stations. Dinners start on the first Friday after Ash Wednesday, and continue through Friday, March 23, the last Friday prior to Palm Sunday. Prices: $15 for adults; $5 for children 12 and under. Reservations are not necessary. For information, contact John Zugnoni, firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-523-8005.
Feb. 17 to March 24
Stations of the Cross with Jan Stegner. 10 to 11:30 a.m. at San Damiano Retreat, 710 Highland Drive, Danville. Free. Information/registration: www.sandamiano.org or 925-837-9141, ext. 315.
Feb. 21 to March 28
Lenten Taizé Prayer. 7 to 8 p.m. at San Damiano Retreat, 710 Highland Drive, Danville. Free. Information/registration: www.sandamiano.org or 925-837-9141, ext. 315.
Wednesday, Feb. 28
Lent Through the Arts. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The School of Applied Theology, St. Albert's Priory, 5890 Birch Court, Oakland. Kathy Coffey will explore visual arts, literature and music in a context of beauty, where no interpretation is wrong. Cost: $95. Register: www.satgtu.org/course-offerings or 510-652-1651. Continuing Education Units available.
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