As we approach this Lenten Season, beginning on Ash Wednesday, I share some thoughts for the penitential season that it is. The gospel reading for Ash Wednesday calls for us to pray, fast, and give alms.

Here are some suggestions for how to do this:

First, join us for one of the Ash Wednesday services, there are many choices at both churches. Join us for daily Mass during Lent, there are three each weekday, 7:00 AM and 12:05 PM at Saint Mary, and 9:00 AM at Saint Agnes. Avail yourself of the sacrament of Reconciliation, opportunities are available every Saturday and Monday during Lent. Make an effort to attend Stations of the Cross. Stations will be every Friday at 7:30 PM at Saint Agnes. All good ways to pray.

Fasting is required on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and abstaining from meat on all Fridays in Lent. Maybe we can all fast from our other bad habits. Less time online, less time on our phones, more focus on the good people we are with. Just a suggestion.

There will be a collection Ash Wednesday, and the entire collection will go to the poor. Beth El Shelter, the John Rigley Food Pantry, and our parish shelter program will all share in the proceeds. Make almsgiving a regular part of your Lent, let your sacrifice help with your own path to forgiveness.

Try this Lent to be more prayerful, more self- sacrificing, more generous toward the poor. If we do, we will move confidently toward a great Easter celebration, knowing that the Risen Lord lives with us still!