From the Rector: The Gesimas

The gesimas have arrived.  What are the gesimas?  They are the three Sundays before Lent, and the first one was last Sunday - Septuagesima. This Sunday is called Sexagesima, and the last Sunday before Lent is called Quinquagesima.  They are old numerical names for these final Sundays after the Epiphany, and they are a time for us to start thinking about our Lenten devotional practices.  If we were to observe these gesima Sundays according to traditional practice, we would have ceased singing alleluias last Sunday, and our color would have changed to violet already.  This stems from a time when these Sundays were truly a pre-Lenten season. I only bring up these names for us as a way to start thinking about the coming of Lent. We will actually sing our last alleluias before Easter on Sunday, March 2, the Last Sunday after the Epiphany.

I have witnessed many times how the faithful are caught off guard by the arrival of Lent. They seem to get lost in the Sundays after the Epiphany, and then one Sunday they arrive to church, and it is the First Sunday in Lent. Somehow they have managed to miss Ash Wednesday, and they are truly annoyed with themselves for being so clueless.

Now is the time to start thinking about our Lenten devotions, and how we shall try to renew our faith before Easter. The catechumens have been meeting weekly, and the season of Lent is when they can begin to taste the excitement of the coming Easter feast. For the whole parish we will offer special devotions on Lenten Friday nights, and on the Second Sunday in Lent, March 16, the parish will observe a Lenten Quiet Afternoon, focusing on prayer practices. There are multiple ways for us to observe a holy Lent. You might consider joining a new Bible Study class, and if you do not currently attend a weekday mass, this too is a good Lenten devotion. Perhaps you might wish to help with our dinners for the homeless, or maybe you might pick up trash along Kapahulu Avenue on a weekly basis. Sometimes the best way to observe Lent is not only by giving up something, but by also taking on something new.   

For the next two Sundays before Lent, the stewardship ministry of our church has invited two lay leaders to share their faith stories at our Saturday night and Sunday morning masses. Their stories will also be included in the Evangel on the following Thursdays. We will get the chance to hear our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ share what their faith means to them, and how they hope to observe a holy Lent. They will invite us into the season, helping us to be more intentional in our Easter preparations.

And to help further with your decision-making, the stewardship ministry has created time and talent cards listing all sorts of ways we might grow our faith this Lent.  These cards will be included in the weekend leaflets, and they will be yours to keep as you engage your faith this Lent.  

We are reminded that there is more to Lent than minor keys, droopy faces, and flowerless altars. Lent is primarily here to recharge and rejuvenate our faith as we prepare for the mysteries of Holy Week and Easter.  In the end, the world does not need more somber and morose Christians, lamenting their Lenten disciplines. Dedicated disciples will be much more interesting to a world in need of our Lord's gracious love.

In Christ,
Father Paul Lillie+