Lent begins

Published 7:58 pm Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Steve Reynolds helps serve the food Tuesday night during Trinity Episcopal’s annual pancake supper held to commemorate the end of the Mardi Gras season and the beginning of Lent.

Many Christians begin a time for change today as the beginning of Lent is marked by Ash Wednesday.

Churches including Trinity Episcopal Church celebrated Mardi Gras Tuesday evening with a pancake supper in preparation for the solemn period of Lent.

Lent, which is the recognition of the liturigcal year from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday, is seen by some as a way to practice penitence by giving up something or pushing away something that is not good.

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The official time of Lent is 40 days, but some observers go over the 40 days by counting the weekend.

During this time, believers work to improve their lives and prepare themselves, Father Gordon Milstid, pastor at St. Robert of Bellarmine Church, said.

“Lent is a time for us to look into ourselves and weed out things that are not good for our lives,” he said. “It’s something to help to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord.”

Lent begins this week with Ash Wednesday where a mass will be held to allow worshipers to come forward and receive the symbol of the ash.

The ash is used to show the commitment of those taking part in Lent, Milstid said.

“Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent,” he said. “We receive ashes as a symbolic ritual. It means we are people committed to changing our lives for the better. We just brush ashes onto the forehead to symbolize this.”

The time of Lent is to be used for improvement as well as giving up something.

One thing that is given up is meat, which is not to be eaten on specific days, Milstid said.

“During Lent, we direct people to go out and make the necessary changes to better their lives,’ he said. “During these days, we don’t eat meat on Ash Wednesday or Fridays during Lent.

All in all the 40 or more days observed as Lent proceed to the events of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“The events and days lead up to the Holy Week and Easter,” Milstiid said. “We don’t observe Lent on Sundays because that is when the feast is supposed to be held.”

The mass for Ash Wednesday will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday at St. Robert Bellarmine Church on Main Street.