Lent is time of ‘joy’ for Eastern Catholics

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — “Joy” is not a word people usually associate with strict fasting and penance — unless they are Eastern-rite Catholics. In the Eastern church, the penitential period that prepares believers to celebrate Easter, is called “Great Lent,” and its prayers invite the faithful to recognize their “need for forgiveness” and to “delight…

Good works are proper response to God’s ‘exaggerated’ pardon, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — When the Bible says, “though your sins be like scarlet” God will make them “white as snow,” it exaggerates, just like God exaggerates in his willingness to forgive people, Pope Francis said. “The Lord forgives generously,” the pope said March 3 during his early morning Mass. God never says, “‘I will…

During Lent, pope offers handy tips for preparing for confession

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — As Catholics are encouraged to make going to confession a significant part of their lives during Lent, Pope Francis offered some quick tips to help people prepare for the sacrament of penance. After a brief explanation of why people should go to confession — “because we are all sinners” — the…

Lent: Time to stop, look and listen

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ, This past weekend I had the privilege of attending our annual diocesan Catholic Men’s Conference at St. John’s University and presiding at the closing Mass in the Abbey Church. The conference has become an annual tradition for many fathers, sons, grandfathers and other men who want to start their…

Rediscovering the Sacrament of Penance

Welcome. Has it been a while since your last confession? Do you have questions about the Sacrament such as: Its been so long, I can not remember the words… I have committed too many sins, the priest will never forgive me… Now that you’ve learned a little about the Sacrament of Penance, why not see…

Pope at Angelus: Lent is a time of battle against evil

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said Lent is a time where we struggle against the temptations of Satan and worldliness.  His words came at his Sunday Angelus address at the end of which he announced the distribution of 50,000 free copies of a pocket-sized booklet called “Safeguard your Heart” containing reflections on Jesus’ teachings.  Many of…

Lent goes high tech

Feeling a little fuzzy on the church’s guidelines on fasting and abstinence during Lent? Or feeling like you are the only one around that acknowledges the 40 days before Easter? Well, smart phones, the Internet and all things social media are here to help. Modern technology, hardly the bastion of all things spiritual, actually has…

Pope: Don’t let meatless Fridays be selfish, soulless, seafood splurge

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Real fasting isn’t just restricting food choices, it must also include cleansing the heart of all selfishness and making room in one’s life for those in need and those who have sinned and need healing, Pope Francis said. Faith without concrete acts of charity is not only hypocritical, “it is dead;…