The 40-day Lent season begins Ash Wednesday, which is this Wednesday, and leads up to Easter. During this period, Sundays are not counted because they commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Lent is a time of intensive soul-searching and repentance for Christians. The season is celebrated around the world, as people spend more time in prayer and fasting.
Christians have been celebrating Lent since the early days of the church as a preparatory time for Easter. The faithful took this time to rededicate themselves and converts were instructed in the faith and prepared for baptism.
By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians imitate Jesus’ withdrawal into the wilderness at the beginning of his ministry for 40 days of praying and fasting. Jesus’ 40 days of prayer and fasting is recorded in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, chapter 4.
Because Easter falls on a different date each year, the start of Lent varies from year to year. Last year, Lent was early because Easter was March 31, and Ash Wednesday was Feb. 13. This year, Easter is April 20; therefore, the Lent season begins later and will culminate on April 19.
Liberty County, which has a plethora of churches, is steeped in religious faith. Local churches take an active role in celebrating Lent and recognize it as a time of fasting, prayer, repentance and self-discipline.
Time is set aside for various types of fast. Some people abstain from meats and sweets, while others include fish. Church doors are open for more times of prayer during the Lent period.
Members of St. Stephen, First Martyr Catholic Church in Hinesville, under the leadership of Father Adam Kasela, will observe Lent with various services throughout the 40-day period. On Ash Wednesday, the church will have Mass with distribution of ashes at
12:10 p.m. and 7 p.m. Throughout the 40-day period, regular Mass will be scheduled, as well as other special services.
Many churches will culminate Lent with special Good Friday services April 18. Some will have services at noon, while others will have services later in the day.
On Easter morning, many churches will have a special sunrise service. During the sunrise services, some churches come together for one large service.
For additional information about St. Stephen’s Lent services, call the church at 876-4364.