VERSAILLES — Lent is more than giving up chocolate.
It is a 40-day fast that starts, Wednesday, March 1, also known as Ash Wednesday, and lasts until Holy Saturday, April 15, the day before Easter Sunday. The forty days represents the time it is believed, in the Bible, that Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry. People refer to the Bible, Mark 1:13, “And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him.”
The traditional practices of Lent are a strong focus on prayer, penance, fasting, and alms giving, which is giving to those in need. According to thebestlentever.com, these spiritual exercises help prepare people for the celebration of the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Jane Pierron Pastoral Associate, St Denis/Holy Family Catholic Parishes, in Versailles, said Lent is about having a relationship with God and paying close attention to that.
“It’s like any other relationship,” she said. “If you ignore that person, the relationship will wither and die. Lent gives us an opportunity to spend quality time with God and improves that relationship, so that we are more God-like and Christ-like.”
In celebration, St. Denis Church is hosting some events combining the Jewish Passover and the Catholic Eucharist together. The kick-off event is a retreat: “Eucharist: An Encounter with the Christ”, features Deacon Royce Winters, Saturday, Feb. 25. Winters is the director for the Office of African American Catholic Ministries for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and pastoral administrator at the Church of the Resurrection in Cincinnati. The all-day event includes food, speakers, confessions and it ends in a Catholic Mass.
Thursday evenings during Lent, speakers, including two rabbis: Rabbi Judy Chessin and Rabbi Tina Sobo, both of Dayton, Ohio will discuss the “Journey into the Desert: the Exodus Story and “Who is Elijah and What it Means to be a Prophet”.
According to Peirron, St. Denis is trying to make some connections between the catholic and Jewish faiths, since the Catholic tradition has a lot of roots in the Jewish tradition. According to biblicalarchaeology.org, Jesus was a Jew, born in a Jewish home and lived in the Jewish culture and in the land of Israel.
Other speakers will discuss “Jesus as the Paschal Lamb”, “Penance Service” and “Passover and Eucharist”. The events will end on April 13, with a celebration of the Seder Meal. The Seder is a feast that includes reading, telling stories, eating special foods and singing. It is held after nightfall on the first night of Passover, the anniversary of the miraculous exodus from Egyptian slavery more than 3,000 years ago, according to chabad.org.
“We are focusing on that to help come to a better understanding of both the Eucharist and the Passover,” Pierron said. “This is part of Father Jim’s (Pastor: Father Jim Simons) vision of trying to bring families together.”
Donations are appreciated for the events, which cost about $2,000, according to Pierron.
For more information, visit www.stdenishf.org.
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