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Deacon Dan

Lenten Customs & Traditions

Instructions: slide over the card or tap to reveal the answer!

Question:

I heard there are days when we’re called to do both… what are those days?

 

Answer:

Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of both fasting and abstinence for Catholics.  Every Friday during Lent is also a day of abstinence.

Question:

Why do we engage in such disciplines?

Answer:

Fasting and abstinence are forms of penance.  As followers of Christ, we should look for ways to walk in the footsteps of Jesus by actively trying to participate in His sufferings

Question:

I heard there are age and medical limitations to the discipline of fasting… what are they? 

 

Answer:

The obligation to fast (one main meal with two smaller meals) is imposed upon Catholics between the ages of 21 to 59, inclusive.  Those who are ill, including those of an advancing age, are not obligated to fast.

Question:

Explain as well what is meant by abstinence… and are there similar limitations to that as well?

Answer:

Abstinence is the avoidance of consuming meat.  The obligation to abstain from eating meat is imposed upon Catholics beginning at age 14 and onward.  Unlike fasting, there are no age limitations with regards to abstinence.

Question:

What about fasting?  I hear that it’s difficult!

 

Answer:

Fasting helps us recall the days Jesus spent in the desert fasting.  The scripture says “he was hungry”… so our hunger helps us draw closer to Jesus and we somehow feel more connected to him.  And… our physical hunger, when we fast, is simply nothing compared to the hunger Jesus felt. 

Question:

What is meant by “almsgiving?  I’m just trying to pay all of my personal bills!

Answer:

Almsgiving is also a discipline that is encouraged during Lent but regularly as well.  This helps us follow the mandate to take care of the “least among us”  This isn’t something we are called to do just some of the year… but Holy Mother Church gives us this particular time of the year to help us incorporate almsgiving as a regular part of our prayer life.

Question:

What disciplines are the faithful called to observe during the season of Lent?

 

Answer:

The Roman Catholic Church observes the disciplines of extra prayer, fasting, and almsgiving throughout the season of Lent.

Question:

Explain these Lenten disciplines and why they are important.

 

Answer:

Extra prayer is always important and valued and encouraged… in that it helps all of us draw closer to God.  This is the primary reason that all of the disciplines are utilized in a special way during Lent… to help the faithful on our journey with God… growing closer and remaining closer to our Lord. 

Question:

Are there other colors used during Lent besides purple?

 

Answer:

Red is also a color used during the Lenten season… on two occasions… Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion and Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion.  The color red represents the blood of Jesus that is specifically remembered on those two holy days… days in which the faithful reflect upon the Passion Narrative recorded in the Gospels. White is also used during this season of the year… at the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday night when Lent transitions into the Sacred Triduum 

Question:

Has the Church changed the names of these high holy days?  It used to be “Palm Sunday”, “Holy Thursday” and “Good Friday”… now it’s “Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion”, “Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper” and “Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion”

Answer:

These edited titles perhaps better recognize the overall theme of each day.  Sunday paints for us the quick movement of adulation of Jesus beginning with His entrance into Jerusalem all the way to His crucifixion.  Thursday is specifically meant to remember the institution of the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper and the ministerial priesthood plays such an important role in that… and so our prayer includes a remembrance of the sacredness of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, specifically with regards to the priesthood.  At the same time… the focus of Friday is, like the previous Sunday, on the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Question:

What is unique, then, about the Good Friday service?

 

Answer:

Good Friday is the only day where there is no Mass celebrated.  The service consists of the Liturgy of the Word, a brief homily, the General Intercessions that are best presented in song… in a responsorial pattern between the priest and the deacon, followed by Veneration of the Cross, and completed with the simple reception of Holy Communion.

Question:

What are the different liturgical colors of Lent and what do they signify?

Answer:

Purple is the primary color of Lent… and it signifies Penance… an attempt to turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.  Advent is also a penitential season… however the two purples of these seasons vary a bit in shade… the Lenten purple has more of a reddish tone… signifying the blood of Jesus on Calvary.

 

Question:

What are some of the unique things about the liturgies celebrated during the Sacred Triduum?

 

Answer:

First of all, in many respects the Sacred Triduum is one continuous liturgy, confirmed by the fact that we find there is by no closing prayer and/or blessing on Holy Thursday night or Good Friday afternoon.

Question:

What else is different or unique… maybe specifically to Holy Thursday?

Answer:

Two unique aspects of the Holy Thursday are the 1) washing of the feet (reminiscent of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples) and 2) the transferring of the Blessed Sacrament to an altar of repose for adoration.  The Eucharist is reposed there in anticipation of Good Friday where there is no Mass celebrated and yet the faithful are entitled to receive the Eucharist.  The altar is reverently stripped of its linens at the completion of Mass in preparation of the stark reality of Good Friday.

Question:

When is the Sacred Triduum celebrated? 

Answer:

The Sacred Triduum begins with the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday… followed by Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion… Holy Saturday when the Great Vigil of Easter is celebrated… and finally Easter Sunday of the Lord’s Resurrection.  The Sacred Triduum ends with Evening Prayer on Easter Night.

Question:

Why does it last for 4 days if “tri duum” is Latin for 3 days?

Answer:

So while it appears to be 4 days (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday) it is really 3 separate 24 hour periods of time following the pattern of the Church’s calendar for the Liturgy of the Hours.  It begins on Holy Thursday night with Mass and ends on Easter Sunday night with evening prayer. 

Question:

When does the Season of Lent begin and when does it end?

Answer:

The Season of Lent begins with the celebration of Ashes on Ash Wednesday and officially ends with the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday Night.

Question:

What is the meaning of the Triduum?

Answer:

The word “Triduum” comes from the Latin meaning “Three Days”.

Deacon George

Stations Origins & Practices

Instructions: slide over the card or tap to reveal the answer!

Question:

What is the “Stabat Mater”?

Answer:

“Stabat Mater” is a hymn, based on a powerful medieval poem, that meditates on the suffering of Mary, Jesus 's mother, during his crucifixion.  The word’s “Stabat Mater” mean “sorrowful mother”.  The “Stabat Mater” is traditional sung as one moves between stations during the Stations of the Cross.

Question:

What are the stations based on Tradition?

Answer:

The stations of the Cross based on sacred tradition are the Third Station: Jesus falls the first time; Fourth Station: Jesus meets his mother; Sixth Station: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus; Seventh Station: Jesus falls the second time; Ninth Station: Jesus falls the third time.

Question:

How does one pray the Stations of the Cross?

Answer:

Traditionally, a person follows the Stations which are depicted in some form on the walls in most Catholic Churches.  At each Station, a prayer and reflection on what is depicted at the station is said, followed by the Lord’s Prayer, a Hail Mary and a Glory Be to the Father.  Then as a person moves to the next station, the song “Stabat Mater” is sung.

Question:

What makes up the Stations of the Cross?

Answer:

The Stations are historically fixed at 14, though in recent times people have added a 15th Station that depicts the Resurrection.

9 of the Stations are based on Scripture while 5 are based on tradition not found in the bible. 

Question:

What are the Stations of the Cross based on Scripture?

Answer:

The stations of the Cross based on scripture are the First Station: Jesus is condemned; Second Station: Jesus takes us his cross; Fifth Station: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry his cross; Eighth Station: Jesus speaks to the women of Jerusalem; Tenth Station: Jesus is stripped; Eleventh Station: Jesus is crucified; Twelfth Station: Jesus dies on the cross; Thirteenth Station: Jesus is taken down from the cross; Fourteenth Station: Jesus is laid in the tomb.

Question:

What are the Stations of the Cross?

Answer:

The Stations of the Cross depict certain scenes from the Passion of Christ.

The object of the Stations is to help the faithful to make a spiritual pilgrimage to the chief scenes of Christ's sufferings and death.  The Via Dolorosa (or “the way of suffering”) is a path marked out since the earliest times in Jerusalem depicting scenes from Jesus’ way to Calvary. newadvent.org

Question:

What are the Origins of the Stations of the Cross?

Answer:

The origin of the Stations of the Cross can be traced to the Holy Land.  It follows the path (Via Dolorosa) marked out in Jerusalem since the earliest times depicting scenes from Jesus’ way to Calvary.

Franciscans brought the practice of the Stations to Europe to allow people to go on a Jerusalem pilgrimage without having to travel to the Holy Land.  This was most necessary when the Muslim Turks limited travel to the Holy Land.