Father Daniel Akho places ashes on the forehead of 5-year-old Ayva Mullen on Feb. 22, Ash Wednesday, in the Cathedral of St. Jospeph in Hartford.
Fasting, almsgiving and prayer are three traditional disciplines by which the Church observes Lent from Ash Wednesday until the evening Mass of Holy Thursday, when the Paschal Triduum begins. All of the faithful and catechumens are called to practice these traditions.
Catholics, ages 14 and older, are to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, February 22, and on all Fridays in Lent. The rule does not apply when health or ability to work would be impacted seriously.
In addition to abstaining from meat on Ash Wednesday and Fridays, Catholics who have celebrated their 18th birthday, but have not yet marked their 59th, are to fast on Ash Wednesday, February 22, and on Good Friday, April 6. On days of fast, one full meal is allowed. Two other meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to individual needs but together they should not equal another full meal. Eating between meals is not permitted, but liquids, including milk and juices, are allowed.
Here are some resources to help on your Lenten journey:
Online resources from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-resources/lent.
Online resources from the Vatican: http://www.vatican.va/liturgical_year/lent/2012/index_en.htm
Locally, the Knights of Columbus Museum in New Haven, in cooperation with the William G. Congdon Foundation, is presenting an exhibition of paintings by American artist William Congdon, together with a series of Lenten meditations written in the 1960s by Father Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. Information about it can be found here.
(Photo by Bob Mullen/The Catholic Photographer)