Lent: A time of sacrifice, reflection

Published 11:41 pm Monday, March 20, 2006

By By Matthew Nascone
As many Christians in the area know, the season of Lent is upon us. With this season comes some sacrifices and they are all in the name of the Lord.
These sacrifices include fasting and abstinence. They are often misconstrued as acts of starvation and dehydration, but this is not so.
The idea behind the 40-day season of Lent is one of walking alongside Christ in his journey through the wilderness.
"This is a time for self-reflection, renewal and conversion," the Rev. Jan A. Zagorski of St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church said. "It is a 40-day celebration that mimics Christ's 40 days in the desert and the 40 years the Israelites spent wandering in the desert."
And the day of fast and abstinence is observed on Fridays during Lent. Friday was chosen because this is the day on which Christ died. Another sacrifice made by some people during Lent is giving up something like candy and sweets. This is a way of training the mind to walk in the footsteps of the Lord.
This season can be seen as a time to evaluate life in general and decide how to change for the better. Through this process a person can prepare to receive Christ as He is risen on Easter Sunday.
"It is our preparation for our destiny, the Resurrection," Zagorski said.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and runs until the day before Easter Sunday. The Sunday's in between this time are skipped when counting the 40 days in the western church.
In the Roman Catholic Church, Lent ends at sundown on Holy Thursday, which is the Thursday before Easter. During this season the decorations around the church are the royal colors of purple or blue to prepare for Christ the King.
On Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, Christians receive ashes on their forehead in the form of a cross as the priest says a prayer. After being blessed with ashes, parishioners are to repent their sins during the Lenten season and the ashes are the way to remember the sacrifices Christ made for His people.
The Roman Catholic Church is only one of the sects of the Christian faith that celebrates the season of Lent. Others include the Eastern Orthodox believers and the Episcopalians.
In Atmore, St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church celebrated the beginning of the season on Ash Wednesday. During the season they observe Friday fast with The Way of the Cross communion service at 5:30 p.m.
Also included in the service is a walk through of the Stations of the Cross. The Stations of the Cross is the representation of the time from when Christ was condemned to die until He was laid in the tomb. It is broken into 14 stations.
Immediately following the service is a light soup supper.
Also during Lent will be a Penance Service of Nails on April 3 at 6 p.m.
The Triduum, the three holy days of the church, opens at St. Robert Bellarmine with The Mass of the Lord's Supper Holy Thursday, April 13 at 6 p.m., followed by Good Friday of the Lord's Passion on April 14 at 6 p.m. and concludes at St. Agatha's Catholic Church in Bay Minette with the Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday, April 15 at 7:30 p.m.
St. Robert's will celebrate the risen Lord with mass on Sunday, April 16 at 11 a.m.

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