Almsgiving, Prayer, and Fasting: The Three Pillars of Lent

‘Give alms…Pray to your Father…Fast without a gloomy face…’ (Matthew 6:1-18) Giving alms, Jesus teaches, means making the needs of others our own, especially the needy of our world. They are all around us: children and the old, the sick and the suffering, families and individuals, next-door neighbors and people in lands faraway. Whatever we… Continue reading Almsgiving, Prayer, and Fasting: The Three Pillars of Lent

These 17th century monks did a beer fast for Lent

As Ash Wednesday kicks off the Lenten season, Catholics enter into 40 days of abstaining from sweets, technology, alcohol and other luxuries. But did you know that Catholic monks once brewed beer specifically for a liquid-only Lenten fast? Back in the 1600s, Paulaner monks moved from Southern Italy to the Cloister Neudeck ob der Au… Continue reading These 17th century monks did a beer fast for Lent

French bishops declare day of fasting after priest's murder

In response to the murder of Father Jacques Hamel by believed Islamic State sympathizers, the French bishops have designated Friday, July 29, as a day of fasting. Msgr. Olivier Ribadeau Dumas, secretary general of the French Bishops Conference, discussed the decision July 26. “What happened in France had happened in other countries before, and actually we see… Continue reading French bishops declare day of fasting after priest's murder

Why do Catholics practice fasting and abstinence during Lent?

Full Question Every year during Lent I’m asked why Catholics fast and abstain. How can I explain our Lenten practice? Answer Explain that Lent is the 40 days before Easter in which Catholics pray, fast, contemplate, and engage in acts of spiritual self-discipline. Catholics do these things because Easter, which celebrates the Resurrection of Christ,… Continue reading Why do Catholics practice fasting and abstinence during Lent?