March 1, 2017
March 1, 2017 is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the Season of Lent.
All Catholics who have reached their 14th birthday are bound to abstain totally from meat on the following days: Ash Wednesday, Fridays of Lent, & Good Friday. In accord with Diocesan custom, Bishop LaValley will grant a dispensation from abstinence from meat to those who observe the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day on Friday, March 17th. It is asked that another penitential act take its place during the Lenten period.
All Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 are bound also to observe the Law of Fast on the following days: Ash Wednesday (March 1) and Good Friday (April 14). Fasting, that is, eating less, involves limiting oneself to a single full meal and avoiding food between meals. Lighter nourishment may be taken on two other occasions in the course of the day.
Prayer and penance
The entire season of Lent should be observed in a spirit of prayer and penance. Spending extra time in prayer or Bible study, attending daily Mass, voluntary sacrifice and self-denial, combined with works of charity and service to others, are all excellent ways to obey the Lord's command to reform our lives and to prepare for the joyful celebration of Easter.
Parishes are highly encouraged to offer periods of Eucharistic Adoration during the Lenten Season, as well as, the traditional devotions of the Stations of the Cross and the recitation of the Rosary.
Sacrament of Penance
Bishop LaValley encourages parishes throughout the Diocese to dedicate the First Friday of April (April 7) to Eucharistic Adoration and the Sacrament of Penance as part of “The Light is on for You” initiative.
Parishes might want also to adopt the model of dedicating one Lenten evening each week to provide an additional opportunity for the Sacrament of Penance.
All Catholics who have reached the age of reason must confess their serious sins in the Sacrament of Penance at least once a year. They must also receive Holy Communion at least once each year between the First Sunday of Lent (March 5th) and Trinity Sunday (June 11th).
Although other seasons are more suitable, the celebration of marriage and the Nuptial Mass are not forbidden during Lent, according to The Code of Canon Law. When liturgical rules permit, the Ritual Mass for the Celebration of Marriage may be used and the nuptial blessing may be given. However, you should advise the spouses and their guests to exercise proper restraint in accord with the penitential character of Lent.
All Christ’s faithful are obliged by divine law to do penance. The days set aside for fast and abstinence in Lent are special ways of doing penance and are an expression of unity for all the Church.
A reminder that this year’s Chrism Mass will be celebrated on Thursday, April 6th at 11:00 am at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Ogdensburg. Details pertaining to this event will be forthcoming.
Funerals during the Sacred Triduum
On Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, Funeral Masses may not be celebrated. However, a Funeral Service consisting of the Liturgy of the Word and the Final Commendation may be held in Church.