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mel is not online. Last active: 10/2/2013 7:44:01 AM mel
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Lent for the Modern Day Catholic
Posted: 26 Feb 2007 06:45 PM
Hi All,

I was not entirely sure where to post this. I finally decided on Medieval history because of the origins of Lent. As many of you may know, we have just finished our small celebration of Mardi Gras. We are currently living in an area where Mardi Gras is not celebrated and we do the best we can here when we can not go back to Louisiana. On Ash Wednesday I overheard a conversation while waiting on my child between two women about fasting and abstinance. It occured to me that I knew about the historical meanings and traditions of lent but I know very little about modern observation of Lent. If someone would be kind enough to tell us what happens during Lent presently, I would appreciate the knowledge.

~mel~
dollmommy is not online. Last active: 10/30/2007 8:18:24 AM dollmommy
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Re: Lent for the Modern Day Catholic
Posted: 27 Feb 2007 10:22 AM
Mardi Gras or Carnevale is the last week of fun and banqueting allowed before the solemn period of Lent.

Many Catholic parishes post what Canon Law prescribe as Lenten obligations for Catholics of majority age. This is what the Baton Rouge diocese has posted on the web. It is almost identical to what was in my parish bulletin:

In the Church in the United States, Catholics aged 18 through 59 are bound by a grave obligation to observe a solemn fast on both Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Catholics aged 14 and up are to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, all Fridays of Lent, and Good Friday as well. These norms have been established by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in accord with the norms of canons 1249-1253 in the revised Code of Canon Law of 1983.

To fast means to consume only one full meal a day at most, although taking of other, smaller quantities of food at the other customary mealtimes is permitted. Food and drink "between meals" (excepting only water and medicine) is not permitted on fast days.

To abstain from meat means refraining from eating beef, veal, pork, or poultry at least, although not necessarily eggs, milk products, or meat broths or condiments made from animal fat. The consumption of fish, shellfish, and reptiles (e.g., turtle, alligator) is permitted if desired.

In addition to the mandatory days listed above, abstinence from meat on every Friday throughout the year which is not a solemnity, and fasting on all Lenten weekdays (especially Wednesdays and Fridays) and on Holy Saturday, is strongly recommended to all the faithful. There always remains, of course, the grave obligation to participate at Holy Mass on all Sundays and days of obligation.

Each in his or her own way, every Christian is bound to do penance by virtue of divine law. Only ill health or some similar situation of urgency excuses. During the Lenten season, Christ Jesus' own challenges to "prayer, fasting and almsgiving" are paramount (see the Gospel reading for Ash Wednesday, Mt 6:1-6, 16-18). We seek ongoing forgiveness for sin (especially in the Sacrament of Penance) and come to appreciate ever more the great sufferings and sacrifice which Our Savior experienced for the sake of our salvation.

All diocesan clergy (priests and deacons) and those religious priests who have legitimate residence and active ministry within the Diocese of Baton Rouge have been delegated the power to dispense the faithful of the diocese, in individual cases and for a just reason, from the obligation to observe a particular day of penance, or to commute some or all of its obligations to other pious works. Included in this is the faculty to dispense from the Lenten obligations to fast and abstain from meat. Yet the obligation to do some kind of penance remains a serious one, and is not taken lightly by a good Catholic.

mel is not online. Last active: 10/2/2013 7:44:01 AM mel
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Re: Lent for the Modern Day Catholic
Posted: 07 Mar 2007 07:03 PM
Thanks! That did clear up alot for me as for the expectations. Just one more thing I am unclear on...

I have heard some people speaking of giving up some things during Lent - for example - cigarette smoking as penance. Does that fit in this or is that something different? Sorry to be so unlearned but I guess I am just at a point in my life that I am interested in learning all I can!

~mel~
Tabby is not online. Last active: 7/28/2008 10:19:17 AM Tabby
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Re: Lent for the Modern Day Catholic
Posted: 08 Mar 2007 08:23 AM
From what I know, yes, you're supposed to give up something for Lent. So, the two most popular I've seen are giving up smoking and giving up sweets. I'm guessing this has something to do with understanding the suffering of Jesus.

Also, the whole Mardi Gras/Karneval/Fasching celebration does not have Christian roots, but actually has pagan roots. As the Catholics were trying to convert all of Europe, they were having problems converting because the converts-to-be did not want to give up their pagan celebrations, including the fasching celebration. So, Fasching got rolled into Catholicism, along with Easter eggs and the Christmas tree because it made the conversion process much easier. (This isn't too much different than some Mexicans who have combined Catholicism with native beliefs and ceremonies.)

Before I forget, fasching is the southern German/Austrian (and maybe some other areas) term for the whole Fat Tuesday celebration; Karneval is another German (non-southern Germany) word for it. I've been meaning post something about these since they are different than the usual Mardi Gras festivities in the US, but haven't had the time.
dollmommy is not online. Last active: 10/30/2007 8:18:24 AM dollmommy
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Re: Lent for the Modern Day Catholic
Posted: 09 Mar 2007 06:57 AM
Yes, you are supposed to "give" soemthing up for Lent but really what a good Catholic should be doing is spending more time in prayer, relflection and almsgiving. Like Tabby said, it is really about sacrifice to resemble Jesus'.

Tabby, you are spot on with the pagan roots of Carnevale/Karneval/Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday in French). Many, many, many Christian holidays are rooted in pagan holidays so as to "fly under the ancient radar" in the old days of killing Christians. I also think that many, like good ole Emperor Constatine, like to hedge their bets between the old ways and the new. Saturnalia, an ancient Roman holiday in December, and its festivities look a heck of a lot like Christmas traditions. In Sicily, we celebrate St MArtin of Tours' holiday in November with the sampling of the new wine and little parties-- looks a whole lot like Baccanale, the ancient Greek festival of wine. Easter practices, birth, renewal, the whole nine yards simulates pagan spring rites. The whole color scheme of Easter, emulates the Hindu (not saying that Hinduism is paganistic, just another ancient religion) Holi customs so, it seems like Christianity certainly didn't invent anything new, just followed other ancient religious celebratory customs.

I have a really great cookbook which seems to have been discontinued. I paid $1.50 for it in a thrift shop and discovered that it can cost up to $90 at Amazon. The book covers all the food customs around the world concerning Catholic holidays. The author, Ann Ball, is well educated and links many of the food customs to their ancient origins. My sister-in-law loved the book so much that after xeroxing each page and placing it in clear sleeves in a binder, I gave her the book. The same author has several other books that are in still in circulation regarding Catholic customs for home decor, crafts, and wine (yay!).
Tabby is not online. Last active: 7/28/2008 10:19:17 AM Tabby
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Re: Lent for the Modern Day Catholic
Posted: 09 Mar 2007 09:25 AM
Wow - that cookbook sounds incredibly interesting. I'm not a practicing Catholic, but Catholicism is a pretty interesting religion to study or read about.

I'm not very up on Hindu holidays, but there's a Hindu figure that some believe resembles Jesus. I had read quite awhile ago that there were parallels between Jesus and Krishna, but I can't remember the exact details (sorry).

It's very interesting about the amount of overlap between other religious observances and Christian observances. I know someone who will not let their children celebrate certain holidays or do certain things because "those are actually pagan holidays (or rituals or observances). But when you get down to it, like Dollmommy mentioned, a lot of Christianity is borrowed (as is Islam, since that's basically the baby of major world religions).
dollmommy is not online. Last active: 10/30/2007 8:18:24 AM dollmommy
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Re: Lent for the Modern Day Catholic
Posted: 11 Mar 2007 07:44 AM
This is why I get furious when human lives are spent over "religion". Terrible waste. What religion asks people to kill others? None. Just crazy interpretations for personal gains. If people spent that energy on relieving poverty and all that accompanies it (ignorance, violence against women and children, caring for the elderly and infirm, finding cures of diseases) we would be far better off as a race of beings....

*sigh*

Enough of my rant.
Tabby is not online. Last active: 7/28/2008 10:19:17 AM Tabby
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Re: Lent for the Modern Day Catholic
Posted: 12 Mar 2007 04:58 PM
I hear ya. It seems like too many people use religion as a means to ostracize or hurt others. As far as Christianity is concerned, Jesus loved everyone, regardless of who they were or what they did. I see way too many Christians use Jesus and the Bible as a way to shame others and get on their high horse.

We have a preacher up here who has this mega church and seems to be a scammer to me (he preaches that it's okay to be wealthy and have lots of material goodies, that the Bible doesn't say otherwise; also seems to be using his church for his own monetary gains). During a recent service, he evidently made some remarks about the US being too nice to Iraqis and that we needed to kill them all before they killed us. The really scary thing is the entire congregation said "amen" to that.

I'm using Christianity here because I'm most familiar with it. But I really don't believe the Koran is telling people to kill their enemies or treat women like dirt. It's like you said: crazy interpretations by crazy people.
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