Lent has been said by many to be the most spiritually profitable time of the year. By the three pillars
of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, we are made more like Christ as we imitate His forty days in
the desert, and as we prepare for the Sacred Triduum and Easter. A season of prayer and penance,
we purify ourselves by moving away from sin, and seeking forgiveness.
As a Parish, here are some of things we are doing, and the spiritual practices we observe, to live this
holy season faithfully.
The Ash Wednesday Mass will be held at 9:30 am and 7 pm at St. Stephen's Parish, and at 5pm at
Maria Regina Parish.
Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are both days of Fasting and Abstainance from meat.
Fasting applies to anyone over 18, and under 60. Certainly, medical reasons such as diabetes,
illness, and pregnancy, release one from the requirement to fast.
Fasting is held to be having only one main meal, and two small snacks throughout the day.
For many, fasting also means giving something up throughout Lent – some give up Facebook,
others give up smoking or drinking, and other give up chocolate or some other favourite treat. This
is an excellent practice for families to do with children.
From the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops: This form of penance needs to be seen as a
near cousin of fasting. We may give up meat or other desirable foods on one or two days a week
during Lent, especially on Friday, the day of Christ’s saving death on the cross. Our abstinence is
another way of sharing in Christ’s work of saving the world.
Throughout the year, every Friday is a day of abstinence from meat, obliging all Catholics who are
14 years or older, [and who are in good health.]
We may also substitute other good actions for abstinence from meat. These could include special
acts of charity (visiting the sick or aged, helping those in any need, contributing time or money to a
work of charity) or other acts of piety (taking part in a service of worship with others, praying with
our family, spending some extra time in personal prayer, especially with God’s holy word in the
Fish is of course the traditional substitute for meat, and eggs are certainly allowed.
Divine Mercy Chaplet
Every day, the Divine Mercy Chaplet will be prayed at 3 pm in the church at St. Stephen's. This
short prayer is offered at the hour of Christ's Death on the Crucifix. This is a remarkably powerful
The Rosary will be prayed half an hour before Saturday and Sunday Masses, honouring the Mother
of our Lord. While everyone is free to pray for their own intentions, the Parish intentions for these
twelve Rosaries are: Sick of the Parish; Persecuted Christians; Success of the Parish Lent Mission;
Deceased Members of our Community; Deceased Priests of the Diocese; Victims of Abuse;
Spiritual Renewal of our Parish; Youth of our Parish; Holy Vocations to the Priesthood and
Religious Life; For our Material Spiritual Benefactors; In Reparation for Sin; Mary's Intercession
for our Diocese;
We hope that you will join your community in prayer.
Stations of the Cross
Every Friday at 7pm St. Stephen's will be praying the Stations of the Cross. A different format will
be used weekly. Every Friday at 6:30 pm Maria Regina Parish will be praying the Stations of the Cross. This will be
followed immediately by Mass. This replaces the Thursday afternoon Mass.
Fr. White is conducting a Bible Study every Thursday during Lent, at 7pm in the Rectory. No
experience is needed, and Scripture will be provided. Bring your questions and thoughts as we
explore Holy Scipture. Snacks will be provided, of course.