By Tim Harfmann
Blessing ashes with holy water, then putting the sign of the cross on foreheads, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio reminded Catholics that ashes are a symbol of repentance from sin. The bishop said Lent is a time to prepare for Christ’s Easter Resurrection and our own eternal life. He has two special prayer intentions this year, and he wrote about them in his column published in The Tablet. The first is for the sanctity of life. “We need time to really pray about it, to try to change minds and hearts of the people who are contemplating abortion, of those who support it legislatively and in other ways. This could be a good 40 days for life,” said Bishop DiMarzio.
His second special intention is dedicated to everyone impacted by the clergy sex abuse crisis. “For the victims, the victims who suffer, and for the perpetrators that they change their lives to make sure they never offend again,” said Bishop DiMarzio.
Governing Catholics throughout the Lenten season are several regulations. Father Peter Purpura, vice chancellor for the Brooklyn diocese, prepared them. “These are common disciplines and it’s a way of us uniting with Catholics around the world as we march and progress towards the Easter celebration,” said Father Purpura.
The regulations are summarized into three categories:
Fasting – On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 should only eat one full meal or two smaller meals.
Abstinence – On Ash Wednesday and every Friday during Lent. Meat should not be eaten by anyone over the age of 14.
Easter duty – All Catholics should receive Holy Communion at some time during the Easter season.
The entire list of Lenten regulations is available on The Tablet’s website. Go to thetablet.org and click on ‘Lenten regulations’ found on the homepage.