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Seven Common Misconceptions About Lent
Posted by Ian on 29 January 2016 08:33 AM

Seven Common Misconceptions About Lent

Whether you’ve been a Christian for 40 years or 40 minutes, there’s probably something you’re confused about when it comes to the season of Lent. Don’t worry. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Your own pastor may have to check with the bishop once in a while to make sure he’s got everything straight for when these annual questions start coming in:

Ash Wednesday is a holy day of obligation. Isn’t it?

Well. It’s holy—what with being kick-off day for the holy season of Lent. But it is NOT a holy day of obligation. If you can make it to Mass, that’s great. But if you can only make it in time to get ashes after Mass or at another time when ashes are being distributed, there’s no need to spend confession time on it.

Do I HAVE to give something up? I don’t really have vices.

Two things here. First, get your vice-o-meter checked. It may need new batteries.

Second, you don’t HAVE to give something up, but you should at least think about doing something to help you grow spiritually—something of a penitential nature in that it takes some effort and discipline. Dedicating extra time to spiritual reading and/or prayer comes to mind, as does going to daily Mass.

I’m under 21. I don’t have to fast. Right?

Nice try, but here are the basic rules: for Latin Rite Catholics, fasting is obligatory from age 18 until age 59. There are health exceptions but this is the norm.

Fasting doesn’t mean I can’t eat anything all day. Does it?

This is a favorite question of people who worry that the rules may have changed since last year. Let’s just quote the U.S. Bishops on this one to be sure we have it straight. When fasting, “…we can have only one full, meatless meal.  Some food can be taken at the other regular meal times if necessary, but combined they should be less than a full meal. Liquids are allowed at any time, but no solid food should be consumed between meals.” Not exactly a foodless trek through the desert.

If you can’t get over your craving for meat, then you should probably move to Lansing or New Orleans.

In New Orleans Alligator is considered “fish” for Lent as confirmed by Bishop Gregory M. Aymond in 2010.

If you aren’t into reptile flesh, you could enjoy the northern delicacy of Muskrat. Bishop Kenneth Povish of Lansing wrote in 2002 that it had been custom back to the missionary days in the 1700’s to allow Muskrat on Fridays.

During Lent this is a fish. In Lansing.

Fasting and abstinence are the same. Aren’t they?

“Fasting,” means following the rules in the previous answer, which is required on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. “Abstinence,” when it comes to Lent, means avoiding meat, which is required every Friday during Lent. Here’s where the under-18 crowd doesn’t get a free pass, by the way. No meat on Fridays applies to them, too.

Lent sure seems longer than forty days. What gives?

Sometimes in life, people get their math wrong (like when our blog recently called Louis de Wohl’s 113th birthday his 103rd birthday, ahem), but the Church’s Lenten math is just fine. Sundays aren’t considered days of fasting or abstinence, so they aren’t counted as part of the “forty days of Lent.” That’s why it SEEMS like you’ve been off chocolate or coffee for something like 46 days instead of forty. And before you ask, the answer is, “Yes.” Your cousin is right when he says you’re allowed to take Sundays off during Lent. Technically, there’s no hard and fast rule either way. But do you really want to go through chocolate or caffeine withdrawal every Monday for seven weeks?

I’m good to go for all-you-can-eat lobster tails on Friday. Right?

Ahhh. You seafood lovers are clever. Fish is definitely not meat, so it’s perfectly fine to have on your Friday menu. But to quote the U.S. Bishops again, “…indulging in the lavish buffet at your favorite seafood place sort of misses the point.” Oh, and taking selfies with your brimming plate and sending them to beef lovers is just plain mean.

If you still think that Lenten observance is “too hard”, keep an eye on our Looking East series of posts. We’ll be shedding light on the Eastern traditions of fasting which include giving up just about everything except rice and beans (no cooking oil, butter or fat allowed).

Do some spiritual reading during Lent.


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Lenten Sale - Take 30% off all in-stock items
Posted by Ian on 16 April 2011 09:27 AM

The Spirituality of Fasting

We are clearing out our Lenten inventory! You can get 30% off of all of our remaining inventory for the next few days. View our Lenten Sale items.

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Does Your Lenten Reading Need a Boost?
Posted by Ian on 11 April 2011 10:44 PM

Ever Wanted to Read the Catholic

Classics but Just Couldn't

Pick up the Book?


Spiritual classics can be daunting for a lot of us.  Did you know that a lot of them are available in audio format?  You can listen to St. John of the Cross or St. Theresa of Avila as you're driving to work or running errands.


This series of audio books includes titles unabridged from G. K. Chesterton, Pope Benedict XVI, the saints and more.


Choose from over two dozen titles for under $20!


Shop audio books>>


The Interior Castle


Composed near the end of her life, this book represents the culmination of Teresa’s spiritual experience. Teresa attempted to explain the beauty of the inner life of the soul, the stages in a life of prayer, and the characteristic joys and trials of each stage.  In this most famous of mystical works, St. Teresa encourages her readers to participate in the search for this ultimate reality - the source of her own love and joy.


View The Interior Castle>>


The Wisdom of Father Brown


In spite of all the essays and poems and books and philosophy and social criticism that flowed from his prolific pen, G.K. Chesterton is best remembered for some detective stories he wrote.  And it is fitting that it should be that way, because first of all, nothing would please him more, and secondly, almost everything he wrote falls in line with his mystery stories, achieving the same effect of presenting a puzzle to us, leading us along, and finishing us off with the shock of truth, the surprise, the revelation of things that we should already know, the solution that is utterly appropriate but entirely unexpected.


View The Wisdom of Father Brown>>

Upcoming Feasts



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Confession is for Everyone - Even You!
Posted by Ian on 11 April 2011 10:42 PM

Confession. It's in season.


If you're reading this newsletter you probably aren't in second grade getting ready to make your First Communion.


You might be going through RCIA and getting ready to receive a bunch of sacraments including your First Confession. Welcome!


For the vast majority of you I'll bet that 1) You are already Catholic and 2) Now would be a great time to head to confession. (There really isn't a bad time)


We have gathered together a great collection of resources for the sinners among us to learn more about confession and to make better use of the sacrament.


Why Go to Confession?


It seems that this is a popular question because someone wrote a whole book about it:


Includes helpful questions for an examination of conscience based on the Ten Commandments and prayers of sorrow in preparation for Confession.


A helpful tool both for people who regularly go to Confession and for those who don’t frequent the sacrament. Useful, too, for pastors and spiritual directors who often face many of the questions treated in this book.


The perfect size for slipping into a purse or coat pocket, Why Go to Confession? is an enlightening read for anyone struggling with the sacrament of Reconciliation.


I also recommend Confession - a Little Book for the Reluctant and Go In Peace by Fr. Pacwa as great overviews of the importance of Confession in your life.


For something a little longer but something you can start on tonight, I recommend Pardon and Peace which is available in both Kindle and Epub formats for immediate download.


But I can go straight to God!


If you aren't really sure about why confession exists, let alone why you need it in your life, I recommend reading Lord, Have Mercy by Scott Hahn. Being an ex-Protestant, Mr. Hahn brings a unique perspective to the sacrament. You can also get a DVD or CD that contains much of the same material.


For some concise Q&A about the sacrament you can't beat the Quizzes to a Street Preacher series.


My kids could use a visit to confession, too.


Like I said, confession is for everyone. We have several books for kids including My Confession Book which is always a bestseller as well as Going to Confession. The low price makes these perfect for a class.


If you are looking for a memento for someone receiving First Confession, we have the unique Today I Made My First Reconciliation book which explains what confession is and also has a place to record the event.


You can also order our First Reconciliation sterling medal and have it delivered in three days.


But I'm really looking for something else...


No problem. We have over 60 different books, dvds and gifts all about this wonderful sacrament of mercy. Take a look!

What do Ash Wednesday and Confession have to do with each other?








The Reconcilation Cross is a wonderful memento for the first time recipient. Made in Italy.



Get our FREE First Communion catalog. Yes, we'll even cover the shipping.


Do you have your First Communion Bible yet? We imprint!


Browse our extensive selection of other First Communion gifts. All carry our return anytime guarantee and none are from China.

Upcoming Feasts



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