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Understanding the Lent basics

By Fr Garfield Rochard

There are 46 days from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday.

Lent has six Sundays including Palm Sunday. These Sundays are within the Lenten season but they are not days of Lenten penitential practice because Sundays are joyful days of the Lord and are not subject to penitential observance.

Penitential Lenten practices include prayer, fasting, abstinence, almsgiving and good works. By way of distinction fasting deals with refraining from or reducing the intake of food and drink for a specified period. Abstinence concerns refraining from indulging in the favourites of your appetites e.g. meat or other delicacies.

The Gloria is not sung or said in the liturgy during the Season of Lent except for solemnities or feasts.

The Alleluia refrain for the Gospel acclamation is not sung or said during the entire Lenten season. It is replaced by refrains addressed to Christ our Lord such as: “Glory and praise to you, lord Jesus Christ”; “Praise to you O Christ, King of eternal glory”; and “Jesus you are the word of God, the living word of God, Jesus you are Lord.”

When the refrain for the Gospel acclamation is sung, the reader does not repeat the refrain. The reader only recites the versicle and the congregation responds with the sung refrain. The versicle is the short sentence or verse that accompanies the refrain for the Gospel acclamation. For example, if the refrain “Glory and praise to you, lord Jesus Christ” is sung, the reader does not repeat this.

The hymns sung at Mass should correspond with the Lenten season. The hymns for Lent can be found in the song books in the section for Lent.

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