Dear Parents and Community of Manhattan Catholic Schools,
The Lenten Season
The penitential season of six Sundays and forty weekdays prepares for the high feast of Easter. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends with the beginning of the Mass of the Lords Supper in the evening on Holy Thursday.
Historically, Lent was the retreat-like final preparation period for catechumens, those being initiated into the Church and into the Paschal mystery at the Easter Vigil. Naturally enough, it became in time a renewal period for the already baptized faithful, the sponsoring community being inspired by the conversion of the catechumens. It was also a time of penance for those enrolled in the order of penitents, an early form of the Sacrament of Penance, limited to serious sinners. The whole Church came to adapt Lent as a penitential season whereby the faithful initiated both catechumens and serious sinners in doing penance.
The word Lent is from the Anglo-Saxon Lencten (spring). Lenctentid (springtide) was the Saxon name for March because March is the month in which days begin to lengthen (also a root of lent). The Great Fast, falling as it does largely in the month of March, adopted and adapted the term.
The ancient Great Three Days, to which all leads and from which all flows, celebrate the heart of Christian faith: Jesus' redemptive death and resurrection. Related to the Church year as Sunday is related to each week, the Triduum begins with the evening Mass of the Lord's Supper, continues through Good Friday and Holy Saturday, culminates in the Easter Vigil, and concludes with Evening Prayer of Easter Sunday.
With the renewal of the Triduum:
What a tradition the Church celebrates. The Fourth Sunday of Lent has many aliases-Laetare Sunday, Mothering Sunday, Refection Sunday and Rose Sunday. The Fifth Sunday of Lent used to be called Passion or Judica Sunday. Of course we know that Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday sometimes called Fig Sunday and includes the Triduum. Does anyone know what Spy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday or Shear Thursday represent? I challenge everyone to spend time studying our Church history!
Have a great Lenten season in preparation of the Easter season!
Yours in Christ,
Mr. Scott Hulshoff
Saturday, April 19, 2014