Lenten/ Holy Week 2016
People focus on fasting and it’s important. As a reminder, the Most Reverend Bishops Elias Zaidan and Gregory Mansour have previously issued the following Lenten guidelines for the Maronites of the U.S.:
- All Maronites over the age of 14, who are physically capable, are to abstain from meat on Ash Monday and all Fridays of Lent.
- Ash Monday and the Great Friday of the Crucifixion are also days of fasting. Fasting in the Maronite Church involves eating and drinking nothing at all (except water and medicine) from midnight until noon. The rest of the day normal meals can be taken, but without meat. All Maronites who are physically capable are to fast on these two days.
To say it another way:
- Ash Monday – fast until noon, then no meat
- All Fridays during Lent – abstain from meat, no fasting required
- Good Friday – fast until noon, then no meat
Abstinence means no eating of meat. Fasting means no food or beverage (except for water) between 12 Midnight to 12 Noon. Those over 60, and those with any medical condition or illness where fasting is deleterious are dispensed from this obligation, as are those who are required to preform strenuous labor. (As a reminder, each Sunday during lent is a celebration of the Resurrection and isn’t therefore Lent, so any things you have give up for Lent are properly set aside on Sundays).
But there is more than fasting! Great Lent is a time of prayer, penance, and change of heart; turning from sin and facing the Lord. Fasting and abstinence are part of the larger program we are encouraged to engage in during Lent. All parishioners are encouraged to seek Sacrament of Reconciliation at some point before Easter Sunday. You are encouraged to give to those less fortunate, either through the second collection for Bishop’s charity or to individuals or organizations.
Corporal Acts of Mercy: The Holy Father, and our Bishop Elias Zaidan, have ask us to focus on concrete acts of mercy during this Season of Lent. Corporal acts of mercy can be visiting relatives at nursing homes, playing the piano for shut ins, making bag of personal care items to give to the homeless when they ask us for money at roadside crossings, or giving money to help organizations who help the neediest in our society. We should try and follow the lead of our Fathers — Francis and Elias during Lent.