Lent -- Here and in Rome

Lent has started and it seems that many remembered to receive their ashes. As so many priests note, Ash Wednesday is a curious day to say the least. It attracts those who are regular church goers as well as those who almost never come to church.

Lent is about conversion and all the faithful should take the opportunity of these days to grow closer to Christ. As anyone can figure out, the path to salvation is far more than just receiving ashes and palms. The beauty of this season here is the number who attend Mass, both on Sunday and during the week. Hopefully, those who are not practicing, that is, those who only come for ashes and palms, will start coming to Mass each week and maybe someday join the ranks of the daily communicants.

The hope and prayer in all cases is that those who consider themselves Catholic seek a true conversion.

One of the traditions I miss from living in Rome is the Station Churches. For those who have the opportunity, this particular tradition is a powerful way to journey through Lent. The most striking aspect of this time honored practice is the sense of connection to the long tradition that is the Catholic Church. Each day is a pilgrimage within the pilgrimage. The beauty of this pilgrimage is the depth of commitment and faith by all the participants. The hidden beauty is the abundance of Grace that participants receive.