Lent begins February 14. Social hour this month. Please pray for Ireland.

1. As Catholics, we have particular Lenten observances that we are obliged to perform. Don’t miss out on the grace of the season of Lent. Here’s the minimum you need to do in Lent:

  • During Lent, fasting and abstinence regulations are observed.
  • Abstinence from meat is observed on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all the Fridays of Lent by Catholics 14 years and older.
  • Fasting is observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday by all Catholics between 18 and 60 years of age. Those bound by this rule may take only one full meal. Two smaller meals are permitted as necessary to maintain strength according to one’s needs, but eating solid foods between meals is not permitted.
  • The special Paschal fast and abstinence are observed on Good Friday and, where possible, Holy Saturday. On these days, Christians prepare themselves by these disciplines in anticipation of the renewal of their baptismal commitment on Easter.
  • From its earliest days, the Church has urged the baptized and catechumens to observe the threefold discipline of fasting, almsgiving and prayer as a preparation for the celebration of Easter.
  • Failure to observe individual days of penance is not considered serious, but failure to observe any penitential days at all or a substantial number of such days must be considered serious.
  • During Lent, the Church encourages attendance at daily Mass, self-imposed times of fasting, and generous giving to charity.
  • Catholics are required to make their confession at least once a year, during Lent.

2. We’ll have our monthly social meeting on the second Sunday of the month, February 11. Everyone is welcome, and we hope to see some new faces, as it’s always fun to meet people from different places, get to know one another a bit, and perhaps even make new friends while talking about our experiences and plans for our time in Poland.

3. Some of you know that Ireland is debating making abortion more available in that Catholic country. The decision should come in May or June. We all need to pray for Ireland to remain pro-life and to protect the lives of everyone, from conception to natural death. Only 6 countries in the world have total bans on abortion. In Ireland, it’s possible to get an abortion if carrying a pregnancy to birth would risk the life of the mother (something that medically speaking is so rare as to be almost non-existent, but it is often used by doctors as a loophole to allow them to do abortions that are completely unnecessary).

Please pray for Ireland. You can include prayers for Ireland in your daily rosary; you can offer Lenten fasts for Ireland; you can offer Mass for Ireland; you can pray Divine Mercy; you can pray the prayer of St Michael the Archangel – whatever you decide to do, pray!

Here is a prayer you can use daily:

O Mother of Salvation, pray for your children in Ireland to prevent the wicked act of abortion from being inflicted upon them. Protect their holy nation from sinking deeper into despair from the darkness which covers their country. Rid them of the evil one who wants to destroy your children, yet to be born. Pray that those leaders will have the courage to listen to those who love your Son, so that they will follow the Teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.