Peace to you my young friends,
The season of Lent is here. In light of our call to prayer, fasting and almsgiving, I thought it might be good to remind ourselves of the five precepts or principles the church requires of all Catholics. These are the absolute minimum requirements we as Catholics need to practice in order to be in good standing with the church. They are:
- To attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation.
- To confess sins at least once a year.
- To receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season.
- To observe days of prescribed fasting and abstinence.
- To provide for the material needs of the church to the best of one’s ability.
Over the last several years, we have talked about the importance of Sunday Mass, and what a beautiful form of prayer it is. Over this season of Lent, continue to attend Sunday Mass, and perhaps consider adding an additional daily Mass to your weekly schedule.
If you have made your first reconciliation, make it a point to receive the sacrament again this Lent. And might I suggest stretching yourself to make it a monthly practice? We all need mercy because we are all sinners. Make it part of your routine.
When you attend Sunday Mass weekly and you confess your sins regularly, you have point three above covered. Receiving the Body and Blood of Christ is the source and summit of our Catholic faith. Through receiving the Eucharist, Jesus lives in you. Feel his love alive in you and share it.
Fasting and abstinence make us think of giving up something and not eating meat on Friday’s. Our real goal should be turning away from sin and toward Jesus Christ. How about stopping a bad habit not just for Lent, but for good? You will feel a weight lifted from you.
The final precept is providing for the material needs of the church. We call this practice almsgiving. What does that mean for young people? Simply, it means giving assistance to others through money or by reaching out to help without question, as a way of sharing the experience of God’s unconditional love. How will you give alms this Lent?
Finally, on March 3, 2018, the Diocese of Green Bay celebrates the 150th Jubilee of the establishment of our diocese. I ask you to pray for the good works happening here in our diocese, and may the next 150 years be as life giving as the past 150.
God bless our diocese on this 150th anniversary and God bless each of you on your journey to Easter.