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Nicholas Ferreira will spend his first Lent as an engaged man

Loving Lent

Lent is traditionally a time for giving up something – candy, caffeine, cookies or dessert of any kind. But it is also a time for adding something – more prayers, daily Mass, volunteering, giving more to the poor.

Catholics of a certain age know that today’s official sacrifices are nothing compared to the past, when each day in Lent was for fasting (that is, one main meal and two much smaller meals each day), and each Friday of the year was for abstinence from meat. Now we are required to fast only on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, at the beginning and end of Lent, and to abstain from meat each Friday in Lent.

To help us prepare, Fathers for Good asked some faithful Catholics to outline their intended discipline for Lent, which begins Wednesday, February 25.

Lectio Divina?

Michael Cremin said he is adding “lectio divina,” a term that may be unfamiliar to many readers. The Latin means “divine (or holy) reading,” and in its most basic form it entails reading a Bible passage and prayerfully reflecting on it for a period of time. The practice is common among monks and other religious but has become more popular with the laity.

Cremin also notes that he will fast from dinner on Thursday to dinner on Friday, each week – a real fast, as in no food at all.

Lest you think Cremin will spend Lent caught up in the heavens, he adds that he will be working with his wife and daughter as well. “We have a 3-year-old whom we are going to do a 'countdown to Easter' with.”

Fish Stick Friday

For a more traditional Lenten practice, Todd Ungerecht and his family are hard to beat. The cookies go out and the Rosary beads come in.

“I am giving up cookies (that I love) and I am adopting as a pious practice saying the Rosary each night before bedtime in addition to my other prayers,” he said. “Our family will be eating fish sticks or salmon on Fridays and Ash Wednesday. We will also each find things among our possessions we can donate to those less fortunate than us.”

He and his wife, Magda, have a 3-year-old daughter who will be taking part for the first time in Lenten observances. “I grew up with Lenten practice,” he explained, “but it is something that our family wants to instill in our daughter, so we are attempting to take it much more to heart than when we were young ourselves.”

A Child of Lent

Joseph Killeen observed that behavior experts say it takes 6-8 weeks of repeated patterns to form a habit. “Lent is 6.5 weeks...God must have had a plan!!!”

What habit are he and his wife hoping to develop? “We're planning to say the Rosary every evening in Lent. We're currently lucky if we say it once per month.”

Of course, he and his wife, Jess, have plenty to pray about and prepare for. She is due to deliver their first child on March 6, during the first full week of Lent. “It's going to be a great time for calming family prayer...” he remarked.

Well-Engaged

Nicholas Ferreira will be spending his first Lent as an engaged man, having proposed to Barbara-Ann Ramsbotham in December.

Like a man with a new mission in life, Ferreira has a sense of purpose and a plan.

“I will wake up every morning at 6:45 to make it to 7:30 Mass before the start of my workday. After work, I will do 15 minutes of spiritual reading before passing to other things. And at 10:45, I will do my night prayers to be in bed by 11 pm.

"This control over my schedule will empower me to do much more with my time and ensure God gets first priority in my life and my use of time.”

May we all be so prepared to greet the Risen Christ in a new and refreshed way on Easter Sunday, April 12!