The Catholic Church and School of Saint Andrew

Our Faith In Pictures: Lent

Our Faith In Pictures: Lent

Lent is a penitential season beginning on Ash Wednesday, which falls on Feb. 14 this year, and ending on Holy Thursday, which falls on March 29. It is a roughly 40-day period of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Why is the color purple associated with Lent? Priests wear purple vestments and the church is bedecked in purple during this season as a sign of penance, sacrifice and preparation. Traditionally, Catholics prayerfully focus on Jesus’ passion and death during this season, often by praying the Stations of the Cross or meditating before a crucifix.

The 40 days of Lent are approximate. This year the number of days from Ash Wednesday through Holy Thursday is 44 including Sundays and 38 without. Although Sundays are not days of fasting and penance, they are still counted among the days of the Lenten season (e.g., the First Sunday of Lent), as is the extra day in February during each leap year. The Easter Triduum, the three-day period beginning with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, is not part of the Lenten season. It is considered a single liturgical celebration that marks the end of Lent and culminates in Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord at the Easter Vigil.

Lent is popularly known as the season in which Catholics don’t eat meat on Fridays. Did you know that Catholics used to abstain from meat on Fridays year-round?  Many still do. According to Church teaching, every Friday is a day of penance, and those who choose eat meat on Fridays outside of Lent are called to substitute another penitential practice on those Fridays.

(This post is excerpted and modified from the article “Living Lent As a  Family” by Jim Thorp.)

Daily Lenten Reflections
Lenten Resources for Individuals and Families

What Is Lent?

Preparing for Lent

Ash Wednesday

Fasting and Abstinence

Family Resources and Activities