Lent

Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord's passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. The season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith.

I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word. And, to make a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now kneel before the Lord, our maker and redeemer.

The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty (+), the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, be amongst you, and remain with you always. Amen

About Lent

From an Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, meaning, "spring," the time of the lengthening of the days. Lent is the forty-day period beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on Holy Saturday. Lent is intended to be a period of preparation and penitence marked by fasting, meditation and sobriety.

Whereas Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus after his death on the cross, Lent recalls the events leading up to and including Jesus' crucifixion.

Lent is a time for prayer and penance. Some fast for the whole of Lent, although this is no longer a common practice. Fasting is an obligation on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. It is expected that a favorite item be surrendered. Whatever the sacrifice it is a reflection of Jesus' deprivation in the wilderness and a test of self-discipline.

Violet, symbolic of penitence and expectation, is the liturgical color used in the season of Lent.