St. Patrick School Prepares for Lent
Lent, from the Middle English word Lentum, meaning springtime--the time of lengthening days, is a period of 40 days of fasting, prayer, almsgiving, and penitence before Easter. Lent began on Ash Wednesday, February 17, this year and ends at sundown on Holy Thursday, April 1, when the Paschal Fast begins.
Lent offers us all a special opportunity to grow in our relationship with God and to deepen our commitment to a way of life rooted in our baptism. It is an opportunity to reflect on our lives, pray more deeply, repent of the wrongs we have committed or in what we have failed to do, and be charitable to those in need.
The students and staff at St. Patrick School have begun to spend time preparing for Easter by observing Lent. Lent kicked off with our students and staff in grades one through 12 attending Ash Wednesday Mass with Fr. Mike in a unique way. The high school students attended Mass in the church, the middle school students attended Mass virtually in the parish hall, and students in grades 1-5 attended virtually in the school gymnasium. The distribution of ashes reminds us of our own mortality and calls us to repentance. In the early Church, Ash Wednesday was the day on which those who had sinned and who wished to be readmitted to the Church would begin their public penance. The ashes that we receive are a reminder of our own sinfulness. Some of the other activities that our students will be involved with during Lent are as follows:
● Stations of the Cross: Each Friday during Lent, students will come together and pray the Stations of the Cross. The Stations of the Cross are a Catholic devotion which commemorates the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Each of the fourteen traditional stations represents an event which occurred during Jesus' passion and death on Good Friday.
● On Wednesday, March 31, the staff will serve our students lunch, and the students will donate lunch money for Operation Rice Bowl.
● Preschool students will be talking about and reading age-appropriate books about Lent and Easter. Each day they will have a Lenten activity.
● Students individually commit to fasting or performing acts of Christian service.
● High school students will attend reconciliation during the school day. Fr. Mike encourages all students in 2nd grade and older to attend reconciliation with their families during scheduled times.
Lent is a time for all of us to focus on repenting from our sins and consecrating ourselves to God, not trying to earn God's favor or increase his love for us. It is our goal that our student body and faculty be well prepared for the resurrection on Easter.
Randy Hodge is the high school principal at St. Patrick School.