Catholic bishops: Forget Valentines, focus on Ash Wednesday

Catholic bishops: Forget Valentines, focus on Ash Wednesday

April 1, Easter Sunday, service at 10 a.m.

In the Catholic faith, God often uses how humans perceive the physical world to impart something spiritual.

Valentine's Day can also be a genuine source of sadness for those who lost (or never found) a loved one, a sort of "couples are the best!" celebration shoved annually in the faces of the uncoupled. "Without wives or sweethearts, it's pretty much just an ordinary day for us", Wolf said, joking. He is an associate professor of theology at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. Mix it with Shrove Tuesday, that Eve-of-Lent bacchanalia meant to be a last blast before the fasting begins.

"I'm forgetful", Light said, "so I get in trouble". To start with, say pastors, give them seasonal opportunities to practice their Lenten call to prayer, fasting and almsgiving: Distribute devotional guides, host fellowship Lenten meals and suggest possibilities for volunteering in their neighborhood.

Now this Wednesday Catholics and other Christians observe Ash Wednesday (yes, falling, unfortunately this year, on Valentine's Day), beginning the Lenten season, which lasts until the celebration of Easter and Jesus' Resurrection. Let us therefore strive to help create in our parish communities an environment of prayer, penance and charity, which hopefully leads us to spiritual renewal and transformation of our lives and our world.

Greg A. Otolski, director of communications for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, said no request for dispensation has been made, and even if requested, it probably "would not have been given, anyway". "Due to the importance of Ash Wednesday in the Church, the Archdiocese is not granting dispensations from fasting or abstaining from meat on February 14", the archdiocese said in a tweet. Lent means "a lengthening of days".

"What we are trying to do in Lent is to remember and honor the suffering Jesus went through for us" in preparation for Easter, Otolski said.

She encouraged people to consider what to abstain from or what to adopt that will "invite them to consider their mortality regularly, to recognize their common humanity and to celebrate their connection to the earth and to our creator in this season of reflection and repentance". It is a day when people should give alms, gift, and reach out to others in the society. Did you know that there is a symbol that incorporates both images? They are applied to the forehead in the form of a cross with the words "turn from sin and believe the Good News".

Lent, rather, is the "acceptable time" to get radical and put out into the deep, to overcome the temptation to become spiritual sissies in the resolutions we make, because if we're wimps in the annual "spiritual boot camp" of Lent, then it's nearly impossible for us to have the spiritual discipline to live by Christ's high standards throughout the rest of the year.

Ash Wednesday is a special and sacred day, the bishop said during an interview. It's good to be reminded that we are only dust - perhaps not as big a deal as we work so hard to be.

"I would bet there will be heart-shaped candy and Valentines Day cards", Durning said. Other services are at 8:45 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. "That way they can celebrate and still keep the Lenten discipline of Ash Wednesday". "Our patronal feast may take the place of a normal Sunday Mass outside of Lent, but not on Ash Wednesday".

Since Ash Wednesday kicks off Lent, its date is always exactly 46 days before Easter, so it is directly affected by what date Easter falls on that year.

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