Some Practical Proposals for this Lenten Season

02-17-2024Weekly ReflectionFr. Robert Aliunzi


I bring you very warm greetings from my family, students, and friends in Uganda. This particular vacation was very eventful for me because it was characterized by many joys and a great conference on the Impact of Peace on Education for the students and staff of St. Thomas Aquinas College which I helped establish in Uganda. However, it also had its share of sadness due to the sudden loss of two priest-classmates and a nephew all in the space of three weeks last month.

Despite this however, it was also a great opportunity for me to discern the hand of God in all of these events and to develop an even stronger faith and dependence on God. I, therefore, came back more renewed and ready to embrace all the opportunities offered by this Lenten season which we began this past Wednesday.

Before I offer some practical proposals on how to approach this season, allow me to thank very sincerely, Fr. Gabe who has done an excellent job writing some very inspiring articles for me these past two weekends. In last week’s article, he introduced us to this season by beautifully reflecting on Ash Wednesday, using the two key words Ash and Love which were so central themes on this particular Ash Wednesday as this day also fell on February 14 which is popularly known as Valentine’s Day. He put the two into brilliant perspective using the biblical reminder: “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

In this article I want to build on his reflection by proposing for your consideration some practical and simple spiritual acts based on the three traditional pillars of Lent, namely: Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving.

On prayer, I want to propose to you that during this Season, you should consider attending at least one or two more Masses during the week in addition to either Saturday eve or Sunday Masses. In case attending the morning, weekday Mass does not work for you, we now have daily 6:30pm evening Masses and Confession opportunities on Wednesdays as well as Adoration. We also have the stations of the cross at 7.00pm every Friday during this Lenten Season. I am pleased to note that last year, during this season, the attendance at the weekday Masses went up significantly as well as at the Stations of the Cross. I look forward to the same experience this season and beyond. Additionally, during this season, I also recommend that you recite the rosary more often both individually as well as communally as a family and be attentive whenever you pray.

Regarding fasting, I want to remind you to give up something you love, or what you could have if you wanted to, so as to participate in the mystery of Christ’s own suffering and death. This may include giving up some luxuries at home, delicacies at table, comforts in your way of living or giving up media luxuries such as television, internet etc. Most importantly I recommend that you consider sharing the material things which you give up with those of our brothers and sisters who are poor, homeless, and needy. And, how about using the time you give up on watching television or being on the social media for prayer, meditation or doing acts of charity? Pope Francis added some practical recommendations of his own a few years ago in his Lenten message which I found very inspiring. Allow me to share this with you in case you did not read it. He exhorted us during that particular Lenten season to:

Fast from hurting words and say kind words.
Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude.
Fast from anger and be filled with patience.
Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope.
Fast from worries and have trust in God.
Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.
Fast from pressures and be prayerful.
Fast from bitterness and fill your hearts with joy.
Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others.
Fast from grudges and be reconciled.
Fast from words and be silent so you can listen.

Finally, on almsgiving, I propose that we share our material blessings through participating in the diocesan-wide Charity and Development Appeal (CDA) which was officially launched on the weekend of February 3-4, 2024. As you have been reminded several times already, the annual Charity and Development Appeal (CDA) provides critical funding to more than 70 programs and agencies across 4 counties in our Diocese. So please, if you have not made any pledge, kindly use the CDA envelopes still in your pews to do so. Note that you do not have to give everything upfront, but you can make a pledge which you will fulfill over a period of time. You can also donate to any of your favorite charities during this season. Thank you so much my beloved family of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and I am glad to be back to serve you. I love you!

Have a blessed Lenten Season.