Lent Begins This Week
Published: February 26, 2017
Dear Parishioners and Friends,
Certainly you know that Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 1. Distribution of ashes will take place here at the Cathedral during Mass at 7:30 am, 12 noon and 5 pm. Of course, a good Lent really starts not with a smudge-mark on our foreheads but the decision of our heart to repent of sin, do penance and draw closer to Christ Jesus in spirit!
Please, please, please make note of one very special change in our Sunday Mass schedule on March 5, the First Sunday of Lent: there will be no 12 noon Mass that day! To allow time for the two massive diocesan RCIA celebrations of the Rite of Election that afternoon, we have to make that adjustment. Getting up a little earlier that morning to make it to either 8 am or 10 am Mass won’t be a hard penance, after all!
But there are still a couple of days of relaxation and fun before Lent. Remember, carnival’s origins are intrinsically religious: historically the revelry of Mardi Gras and the weeks before Lent is no accident. European Christians especially made extra efforts to enjoy a bit more of fun, feasting and family prior to the more somber time of ushered in by Ash Wednesday.
True, in our contemporary age a lot of the traditional fun of Mardi Gras has been tarnished by vulgarity and excess. Wholly irreligious folks who don’t ever intend to do any penance are the ones to blame for this. Yet others’ ignorance and even immorality do not control us, or rob us of joy. Although we followers of Jesus are more and more a minority in the midst of a too-secular world, we still savor the opportunities we do have to smile, to enjoy a bit of partying with family and friends, and to maintain a bit of our cultural distinctiveness as Louisianans. So Happy Mardi Gras! If you don’t want to bother with parades, at least take a day off from work. Go on a picnic, walk on the levee, adopt a pet, drop a line in the water, finish that paperback, visit a museum, bake cookies with some children, share hot chocolate and giggles with your bestie! You get the idea. In fact wholesome activities like these will ready you for Lent in the very best ways!
Sincerely in the Lord,