Lent for the year 2020 starts on Wednesday, Feb. 26 with Ash Wednesday and ends on Thursday, Apr. 9 with evening mass on Holy Thursday.
Lent is the period of 40 days (not including Sundays) before Easter in the Christian calendar. It is a season of selection and preparation before Easter celebrations.
“By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians replicate Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days,” shared Sister Terry Rickard, president and executive director of Renew International’s ARISE program.
Forty is a significant number in Jewish-Christian scripture — The Israelites spent 40 years in the wilderness before reaching the land promised to them by God; Moses fasted for 40 days before receiving the 10 Commandments on Mount Sina; and Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the wilderness in preparation for his ministry.
A list of Ash Wednesday masses throughout Blair County can be found at proclaim.dioceseaj.org. Locally, St. Joseph’s Church in Bellwood will hold masses at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., with a service and distribution of ashes at noon. St. Matthew’s Church in Tyrone will hold masses at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. with an ash distribution service at noon.
Throughout this season, an adult Bible study on Jesus’ Passion will be held each Friday of Lent at St. Joseph Church from 7 to 8 p.m. in the parish meeting room. The study will be taught by Sister Linda LaMagna. Stations of the Cross will also be held on Fridays during the Lenten season at St. Joseph Church, beginning Feb. 28 at 6:30 p.m.
This season, parishioners have also been invited to bring in religious items for a free taking/exchanging table. Any items not wanted will be properly disposed of. The collection of items and any old palms will end on Feb. 23.
Throughout the community, Fish Fry events are set on Fridays for the Lent season, including at the Excelsior Fire Company in Bellwood, and the Warriors Mark United Methodist Church.