The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Lent for Dummies

And one of those dummies would have to include Your Humble Blogger — who had no idea until a couple years ago that, in fact, it’s not really 40 days.  (They don’t count Sundays.)  Anyway, there’s a lot of stuff all of us need to know about the season that will be starting on February 17. 

And to help us along, the good folks at Aggie Catholics have just posted again their invaluable Guide to Lent — a megapost with fascinating facts, tips, history, details, you name it. 

Want to know just what we’re getting into next week?

Take a look.

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posted February 10, 2010 at 6:31 pm

Lent _IS_ 40 days: 6 weeks including Holy Week and excluding Sundays plus the 4 days before the first Sunday in Lent equals 40 days. Lent ends at the Easter Vigil.
For the Byzintines, Great Lent begins on the Monday of Ash Wednesday for a duration of 40 days – inclusive of Sundays- until the Friday of the 6th week -the next week being Holy Week, a time of intensified penance.

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Deacon Greg Kandra

posted February 10, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Anthony …
What I mean is that the period between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday is longer than 40 days. (It’s 46, I think, if you count Easter Saturday.)
But we don’t count Sundays. Most of my adult life, I never knew that. Which is why I’m a dummy :-)
Dcn. G.

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posted February 11, 2010 at 2:31 am

I talked to the RE kids and parents about Lent tonight- we discussed what ‘fasting’ and ‘abstinence’ means- I explained that not eating meat did not mean eating Alaskan King Crab Legs instead of meat- more along the lines of ‘fish sticks’ …bleah. It’s a sacrifice, not a pleasure! (Crab is super cheap here in Oregon right now!)

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Holly Hansen

posted February 11, 2010 at 7:12 am

Just wanted to mention that Lent and it’s spiritual disciplines have spread far beyond the Catholic and Orthodox churches. Anglicans, Lutherans and other mainline churches and many evangelicals have adopted them as well. The impositions of ashes and stations of the cross are becoming common. Wednesday soup and bread suppers are very popular among many protestants.

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posted February 11, 2010 at 8:57 am

Lent does not end at Easter Vigil
Lent ends with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, which begins the Triduum

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posted February 11, 2010 at 11:21 am

Lent goes from Ash Wednesday to the beginning of the Holy Thursday liturgy, which is 43.5 days. Then the Triduum is 2.5 days long, for a total of 46 days of Lent+Triduum. The six Sundays of Lent are not fast days (fasting on Sunday is a big no-no in Christianity). The entirety of the Triduum are fast days. The forty days is the number of fast days in Lent and the Triduum together.
So, if you were looking for excruciatingly correct lyrics, it would be:
“These forty days of LentAndTheTriduum, Oh Lord, with you we fast and pray…”
“These thirtySevenAndAHalf days of Lent, Oh Lord, with you we fast and pray…”
…it just doesn’t scan as well that way!

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Franklin Jennings

posted February 11, 2010 at 12:02 pm

For the sake of clairity, it might be better to say that fasting on Sunday is a big no-no in WESTERN Christianity.

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posted February 11, 2010 at 2:32 pm

When I was a kid in I thought Lent was named like that because my mom used to give us lentil soup every Friday! Also, then, as very nominal Catholics we rarely ever went to Church, except on Ash Wednesday when everybody and their dog, cat and bird showed up and crowded the Church to “take ash”. Now that I am a practicing Catholic I still it is funny how people who never go to Church the whole year show up during Ash Wednesday (some people think is THE mandatory Holyday of Obligation, when reality is not). I guess is a good opportunity for evangelization.

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posted February 12, 2010 at 10:36 pm

Great post. Just another example of how our priests do not step up to the plate to eduate the Faithful. How did I learn all this? From a 1889 Payer book that belonged to my Grandmother. Sad, isn’t it? I teach myself.

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