By Isabella Daley
Students and staff at McNicholas gathered for Ash Wednesday Mass on Wednesday, Feb. 14, at Guardian Angels Church to begin the yearly celebration of Lent. Lent is a period of time in the Catholic Church’s liturgical calendar set aside in preparation for Easter with a focus on prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. As Pope Francis said in his official message for Lent, “Lent summons us, and enables us, to come back to the Lord wholeheartedly and in every aspect of our life.” The Milestone has compiled a list of resources and suggestions for those looking for ways to focus on “every aspect of [their] li[ves]” during Lent.
New ways to pray
- “By devoting more time to prayer, we enable our hearts to root out our secret lies and forms of self-deception, and then to find the consolation God offers,” Pope Francis said.
- Pick up one of the Little Black Books at your parish to read reflections based on Jesus’s Passion according to the Gospel of Mark.
- Attend a Eucharistic Adoration service. Sophomore Harper Esterle said she goes to the chapel at IHM for Adoration. “Adoration is a great way to focus on the prayer aspect of Lent, especially since you can go for as long you would like,” Esterle said.
- Participate in a Stations of the Cross service. Many local parishes will host Stations of the Cross services throughout Lent, and Guardian Angels will host theirs on Friday, March 2, at 7 p.m. A group of students and teachers from McNick will participate in the Way of the Cross for Justice event on Fountain Square on Good Friday.
Different methods of fasting
- “[Fasting] makes us more attentive to God and our neighbor. It revives our desire to obey God, who alone is capable of satisfying our hunger,” Pope Francis said.
- Give up a certain food item during Lent like sophomore Kristin Davis, who said she is trying to give up caffeinated coffee.
- Go on a social media detox. Senior Lexi Gauger decided to delete Twitter from her phone during Lent as a form of fasting. “I spend way too much of my time on Twitter, and… I can replace the time I would have spent on Twitter doing productive things,” Gauger said.
- Spend time that you would normally spend on watching TV to watch some educational or religious videos to deepen your spiritual life. Senior Jordan McCormick recommended watching Fr. Mike Schmitz’s videos on YouTube, especially “4 Reasons for Almsgiving” and “4 Reasons for Fasting.”
How to give of yourself
- “Almsgiving sets us free from greed and helps us to regard our neighbor as a brother or sister,” Pope Francis said.
- Pick up a CRS Rice Bowl at your parish and place spare change into it throughout the 40 days of Lent. Bring your Rice Bowl to your church at the end of Lent so Catholic Relief Services can donate the money around the world.
- Go out of your way to be kind to others. “The most important thing that I do in Lent is try and make people smile more,” junior Christina Brunner said. “Taking just a second out of your day to give someone a compliment can really make someone’s day.”
- Make spontaneous thank you cards for others. “I definitely am working on… being more gracious,” Davis said. “I think if someone does something that deserves being thanked, then I should give that same time and do something [for them] in return.”
Recommended fish fries in the area
Catholics over the age of 14 are supposed to fast from meat every Friday during Lent, so The Milestone asked students for several local fish fry recommendations:
- “I have heard the fish fry at St. William in Price Hill is really good,” Davis said.
- “My favorite fish fry place is STM because it is organized, and the Scouts are very friendly and professional,” Esterle said.
- Gauger said that theology teacher Teresa Davis has recommended the fish fry at St. Monica-St. George to her before, although she has not attended the event herself.
- Across the street from McNick, Guardian Angels Parish will host a fish fry every Friday from 5 to 7:30 p.m. from Feb. 16 to March 23.