Bulletin 5 March 2023

The Three Pillars of Lent: Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving


Fasting, Almsgiving

‘What are you giving up for Lent?’ A legitimate question but the reasons for ‘giving up’ need to be the correct ones: to lose weight; to enjoy the Easter egg more; to spare some money? These are some of the responses to the question. But they have little or nothing to do with the real purpose of Lent.  Lent is summed up in the prayer which the priest says as he makes the sign of the cross on the forehead on Ash Wednesday: Turn away from sin and believe in the Gospel. This is what we are called to do over the next six weeks. Then we will be able to enter more fully into the death and resurrection of Christ (the Paschal Mystery).

            Fasting is a term that stands for all the ways in which we curb our self-indulgence. Giving things up is just a small part of it. More important are the ways in which we improve our relationships in family, school, the work place, the sports club, etc. Similarly, Almsgiving involves giving money and sharing resources with those who need them, locally and internationally, through the different agencies, like Trocaire.


Fasting, Almsgiving are brought together in an evocative but practical way in this quotation from the prophet Isaiah (58:6-7):


Is not this the sort of fast that pleases me – it is the Lord who speaks –

To break unjust fetters and undo the thongs of the yoke,

To let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke,

To share your bread with the hungry, and shelter the homeless poor,

To clothe the person you see to be naked and not turn from your own kin?


Last week’s Mass leaflet carried a reflection on the third pillar of Lent, Prayer. See website: Bulletin 26th February.

Second Collection next weekend is for Irish Bishops’ Commissions


St Finbarr’s South Church: Wednesdays at 7.30 Reflections on Prayer


Bible Course in Scala, Blackrock: Mondays 7.30-9.30 pm


Monday, 6th March Fr Luke McNamara OSB, Glenstal: Meeting Jesus through Matthew’s Gospel

Monday, 13th March Sr Mary T. Brien PBVM: Journeying with Moses: ‘Set my people free’

Monday, 20th March Phil Mortell: Who do you say I am? Portraits of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels

Recent Deaths: We pray for Tess Bruton, Mercier Park and Sean O’Flynn, late of Derrynane Road, who died in North Carolina. We sympathize with the families.