Skip to main content

Lent is for sacrifice, ‘giving up,’ change

BALTIMORE, Md. (The Catholic Review) - For many years, James Ulmer has given something up for Lent. Whether it was candy, soda, alcohol or chocolate, the 56-year-old parishioner of St. Katharine Drexel in Frederick always made it through the traditional 40-day penitential season without reneging on his sacrificial pledges – although he admitted that going without chocolate “almost killed” him.

40 DAYS OF RECKONING - Many people take the opportunity to focus on their faith journey during Lent. Emily Kinley, a 13-year-old eighth grader at St. John Regional Catholic School in Frederick plans to pray the rosary. (iStock photo)

40 DAYS OF RECKONING - Many people take the opportunity to focus on their faith journey during Lent. Emily Kinley, a 13-year-old eighth grader at St. John Regional Catholic School in Frederick plans to pray the rosary. (iStock photo)


This year, Mr. Ulmer is trying something different. He plans to contact six people he’s hurt in some way and ask their forgiveness.

“It’s going to be very challenging,” said Mr. Ulmer. “I’m excited about it. I think it’s going to be healing for all of us. This is much more rewarding for me and the people I’m going to spend time with.”

Mr. Ulmer is one of many Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Baltimore who have committed themselves to extra prayer, almsgiving, works of mercy or Christian service this Lent. Many others have maintained the tradition of giving up something special as a way to focus on the real meaning of Lent and deepen their spirituality.

“Fasting is not just about giving things up or not eating as much,” said Father Michael Carrion, pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary in Baynesville. “It’s having an awareness that not everything is about us. Our fasting is one way to give thanks to God for the many things we do have.”

Lent reminds Christians of their obligation to reach out to others, Father Carrion said. It’s also a time to seek forgiveness.

“It’s about looking at ourselves and making changes,” he said. “What do we need to change to grow closer to the Lord?”

Pray more, text less

Matthew Colket, a 12-year-old seventh-grader at St. John Regional Catholic School in Frederick, is saying extra prayers this Lent. Every day, he is praying a novena to St. Therese de Lisieux – his mother’s favorite saint. He’s also pledged to give up junk food and limit himself to just three meals a day with no snacking.

“I think it’s important to remind yourself of Jesus’ journey through the desert and how he fasted,” said Matthew, a parishioner of St. John the Evangelist in Frederick. “Jesus was tempted, but he turned away from the temptation.”

Emily Kinley, a 13-year-old eighth grader at St. John Regional Catholic School in Frederick, has given up spending a lot of time on the computer. She’s planning to use the computer just 15 minutes a day.

“I like to talk to friends and play games online,” said the parishioner of St. John the Evangelist, Frederick. “I’m going to spend that time with my family and pray.”

Emily is planning to pray the rosary throughout Lent.

“It’s important so I can be closer to God,” she said.

Contemplating Christ’s suffering and death is an important component of Lent, she said.

“Without the resurrection, we wouldn’t be saved from our sins,” she said.

Sacrifice brings meaning

Lent wouldn’t be meaningful without a sense of sacrifice, according to Mike Guidara, a 56-year-old parishioner of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Ellicott City. In addition to abstaining from meat on Fridays, Mr. Guidara is planning to abstain from meat on the Saturdays and Sundays of Lent. He also plans to pray the Stations of the Cross at the National Shrine Grotto of Lourdes in Emmitsburg and watch Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ.”

“When you think about what Christ did for us by dying on the cross, it’s the least I can do,” said Mr. Guidara. “We can’t just be all talk and no action.”

Bridget Bindel, a 16-year-old parishioner of St. Ursula in Parkville and a junior at the Institute of Notre Dame in Baltimore, is giving up soda this Lent. She is also planning to attend all the liturgies of Holy Week.

“It’s important to realize we have a lot and we can give some things up,” said Bridget, noting that many of her friends have also given up soda or ice cream.

Sixty-two seventh-graders at Notre Dame Preparatory School in Towson are donating ice cream money or forgoing treats like cookies to collect money to purchase items to fill 60 baskets for the children with developmental disabilities at Villa Maria, Timonium.

Children at Monsignor Slade Catholic School in Glen Burnie are doing a similar Lenten project, raising money for Alzheimer’s, AIDS and breast cancer research, according to Lydia Ramsey, a 14-year-old eighth-grader and student council president. During Lent, Lydia said she’s making the personal sacrifice of giving up nail biting and she said she’s going to do her schoolwork as soon as it’s assigned.

“I don’t do it because everyone else is doing it,” she said. “I do it because I want to change something.”

---

Republished by Catholic Online with permission of The Catholic Review, the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Md. (www.catholicreview.org).

Keywords:



NEWSLETTERS »

E-mail:       Zip Code: (ex. 90001)
Today's Headlines

Sign up for a roundup of the day's top stories. 5 days / week. See Sample

Rate This Article

Very Helpful Somewhat Helpful Not Helpful at All

Yes, I am Interested No, I am not Interested

Rate Article

1 - 1 of 1 Comments

  1. vincent ezeh
    2 years ago

    this lenting season am fasting 6-12 everday and am also giving up one-quater of my daily expenses to charity everyday till the lent is over.

Leave a Comment

Comments submitted must be civil, remain on-topic and not violate any laws including copyright. We reserve the right to delete any comments which are abusive, inappropriate or not constructive to the discussion.

Though we invite robust discussion, we reserve the right to not publish any comment which denigrates the human person, undermines marriage and the family, or advocates for positions which openly oppose the teaching of the Catholic Church.

This is a supervised forum and the Editors of Catholic Online retain the right to direct it.

We also reserve the right to block any commenter for repeated violations. Your email address is required to post, but it will not be published on the site.

We ask that you NOT post your comment more than once. Catholic Online is growing and our ability to review all comments sometimes results in a delay in their publication.

Send me important information from Catholic Online and it's partners. See Sample

Post Comment


Newsletter Sign Up

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 1:26-31
Consider, brothers, how you were called; not many of you are ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 33:12-13, 18-19, 20-21
How blessed the nation whose God is Yahweh, the people he has ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 25:14-30
'It is like a man about to go abroad who summoned his servants ... Read More

Saint of the Day

August 30 Saint of the Day

St. Rumon
August 30: St. Rumon, also known as Ruan, Ronan, and Ruadan, was probably a ... Read More