Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

Upcoming Calendar Highlights: Beginning of Lent, February 22-March 3

By Jennifer Gregory Miller ( bio - articles - email ) | Feb 17, 2023 | In The Liturgical Year

Lent begins next Wednesday, February 22. This post covers the first week and a half of Lent, and looking ahead to some more popular feast days of March, Sts. Joseph and Patrick!


Saints’ Days in Lent

  • The season of Lent carries gravitas in the Church’s liturgy. We have to shuffle our thinking about saints’ days that fall during the season of Lent.

  • The document General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar (GNLYC) is the perfect reference to understand how the Church “treats” the Lenten season.

III. Lent

27. Lent is a preparation for the celebration of Easter. For the Lenten liturgy disposes both catechumens and the faithful to celebrate the paschal mystery: catechumens, through the several stages of Christian initiation; the faithful, through reminders of their own baptism and through penitential practices.[13]

28. Lent runs from Ash Wednesday until the Mass of the Lord’s Supper exclusive. The Alleluia is not used from the beginning of Lent until the Easter Vigil.

  • There is a “Table of Liturgical Days in Order of Precedence” at the end of the document, which explains how different days and feasts are treated through the Liturgical Year.

  • All the Memorials that fall during Lent are made into Optional Memorials.

  • I mentally refer to it as “bumping”, but the official reference is either superseded or taking precedence. GNLYC officially explains:

The Sundays of the seasons of Advent, Lent, and Easter, however, take precedence over all solemnities and feasts of the Lord. Solemnities occurring on these Sundays are observed on the Saturdays preceding.

.....

14. Obligatory memorials occurring on Lenten weekdays may only be celebrated as optional memorials.

.....

16. The days following Sundays are called weekdays. They are celebrated in different ways according to the importance each one has.
a. Ash Wednesday and the days of Holy Week, from Monday to Thursday inclusive, have precedence over all other celebrations.
b. The weekdays of Advent from 17 December to 24 December inclusive and all the weekdays of Lent have precedence over obligatory memorials.

  • Saints’ days generally look different in Lent. Except for Feasts and Solemnities, the Memorials are “bumped” down to Optional Memorials.

  • The Optional Memorials are treated more like a Commemoration. The priest continues to wear violet or purple vestments, and everything is the Lenten Mass Liturgy except the Collect which will be to the saint of the day.

  • The General Instructions on the Roman Missal (GIRM) provides the manner of approach:

355 a) On the weekdays of Advent from December 17 to December 24, on days within the Octave of the Nativity of the Lord, and on the weekdays of Lent, except Ash Wednesday and during Holy Week, the Mass texts for the current liturgical day are used; but the Collect may be taken from a Memorial which happens to be inscribed in the General Calendar for that day, except on Ash Wednesday and during Holy Week.

  • March 19 falls on Sunday, so the Solemnity of St. Joseph is transferred to Monday, March 20. Although it can be moved beforehand, this is an example of a solemnity that can be transferred according the local bishops’ conference. Again, from GNLYC:

f’. The cycle of the liturgical year should stand out with its full preeminence, but at the same time the celebration of the saints should not be permanently impeded. Therefore, dates that most of the time fall during Lent and the octave of Easter, as well as the weekdays between 17 December and 31 December, should remain free of any particular celebration, unless it is a question of optional memorials, feasts found in the Table of Liturgical Days under no. 8 a, b, c, d, or solemnities that cannot be transferred to another season. The solemnity of Saint Joseph (19 March), except where it is observed as a holyday of obligation, may be transferred by the conferences of bishops to another day outside Lent.


Speaking of St. Joseph

  • Sunday (February 19th) or Monday (February 20th) is the day to begin the Thirty Days’ Prayer to St. Joseph

    • I love this prayer, and have prayed it often.

    • And I give credit to St. Joseph for helping me find my husband. I finished the Thirty Days’ Prayer and the next day was our first date. I like to think St. Joe had a hand in our courtship!

  • Be sure to visit the Virtual St. Joseph Altar, which is celebrating 25 Years!


St. Patrick’s Day


Reading and Listening Ideas for Lent

  • I always use as my framework Maria Von Trapp’s Lenten Reading Plan.

    • Last year Dr. Jeff Mirus published a great Lenten Reading List.

    • Some classics and my personal favorites:

      • Pope Benedict’s Jesus of Nazareth and other accompanying titles

      • Archbishop Goodier’s books on the Life of Christ

      • Archbishop Fulton Sheen Life of Christ

      • Fr. Jacques Philippe books

      • Mother Mary Francis A Time of Renewal

  • Some newer titles:
  • One of my favorite series of daily meditations following the Liturgical Year is In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez-Carvajal printed by Scepter Publishers.

    • The Lenten volume is one of the best in the series. All the meditations line up with the daily Lenten liturgy and are hard hitting.

    • I recently found out that there is an daily podcast put out by Relevant Radio.

    • You need the App to listen, and there is no archive, so if you miss yesterday, you have to move on.

    • The voice is not exactly pleasant, and I wish there was a way to speed it up a bit, but not double time, but it’s become one of my daily prayer listenings.

  • Abiding Together Podcast is having a “Be Transformed” Lenten Study.

    • I only found out about this podcast two seasons ago. I have found it so uplifting and helpful.

  • Check out Holy Is His Name, new 12-Part Scripture Study by Scott Hahn.

  • I love to read or listen to the Office of Readings particularly during Lent. There are apps to either read or listen to the Divine Office.

    • I’ve been using Divine Office for many many years.

    • On busy days I fast forward and only listen to the readings from the Office of Readings, but other days I try to pray the whole Morning Prayer and Office of Readings.

  • I’m continuing The Catechism in a Year and The Bible in a Year podcasts, also.

Food during Lent

  • Approaching food—how much to fast or abstain, diet or give up, that is usually the first thought when Lent rolls around.

  • Our generation constantly thinks about food and drink and satisfying our appetites and tastebuds. It makes sense that this would be an area we need to curb a little so as to not let “Brother Ass” rule our lives.

  • Cookbook ideas:

    • Last year I reviewed The Lenten Cookbook. This could be an inspiration for your Lenten cooking.

    • My favorite Liturgical Year cookbook is Cooking for Christ by Florence Berger. The reprint (slightly revised) is still available from Catholic Rural Life. There are some great ideas for Lent.

    • I’m reading and working on a review of Dining with the Saints by Father Leo Patalinghug and Michael P. Foley. It looks fantastic!

  • So often we default on thinking we need to have plain and austere cooking during Lent.

    • But as a mom, I know I need to work on creating a “Bright and Cheerful Home” (as often repeated by St. Josemaria).

    • Part of my work of Lent can be creating meal plans and changing up the routine.

    • And cooking and serving with love and joy.


Decluttering for Lent

  • I’m working on decluttering this Lent. Part of my goal is to have everything out for our parish festival at the end of April.

    • I’m so excited the festival is returning, as it’s been on hiatus since 2020.

    • I’m running the Used Book Sale, and I’m determined that quite a few of my own books need to make it to the sale.

  • Forty Bags in 40 Days is one of my inspirations. I’m not measuring nor counting, just looking for motivation.

  • Did you see the story about Marie Kondo changing her approach now that she has children at home?

  • Family at home means there will be living happening in the house and clutter happens.

  • For me, when I see my piles of “stuff” in my work areas, it means to me that I am busy, and haven’t had time to slow down and be peaceful. Less clutter does make me less agitated.


My Previous Lenten Posts

I’ve been writing for the Liturgical Year at Catholic Culture since 2013, so I have quite a few older posts for this Lenten season:

Lent:

Roman Stations:

Feasts and Special Days of Lent:

Jennifer Gregory Miller is a wife, mother, homemaker, CGS catechist, and Montessori teacher. Specializing in living the liturgical year, or liturgical living, she is the primary developer of CatholicCulture.org’s liturgical year section. See full bio.

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