Charting a Course

The Season of Pre-Lent or Septuagesima lasts for the two and a half weeks, ending with the start of Great and Holy Lent on Ash Wednesday.

The three Sundays of Septuagesima (January 28th), Sexagesima (February 4), and Quinquagesima (February 11th) represent the number of weeks to Passion Sunday which is then two weeks before Easter.

The observance of this period in the Western Church dates back at least as far as St. Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome, who more broadly introduced it into the life of the Church in the 6th century.

The intention of this brief season is to provide a suitable period of time for all of the members of the Church to adequately prepare for Great Lent. The season allots some time to help us transition from the immensely joyful celebrations of Christmas and Epiphany into the extended period of profound penitential sobriety of Lent.

The Season of Pre-Lent was consistently observed throughout the entire Catholic West until the Roman Church abolished it. Despite this abrupt change for so many faithful Roman Catholics, our Church, as well as the Eastern Orthodox Churches and Byzantine Catholic Churches have observed and embraced the spirit of the Pre-Lenten season.

There are no additional Church laws for fasting or abstinence during this short season–other than our usual discipline of abstaining from meat every Friday — if anyone wishes to follow in the footsteps of our religious and cultural ancestors and get a head start by fasting and abstaining from certain foods, drinks, activities, etc., they are certainly welcome to do so

Let us draw upon the beautiful spiritual traditions of both the East and the Wes and let us employ Pre-Lent to begin to chart the courses for our own Lenten journeys and sacrifices.

Holy Name of Jesus, 1040 Pearl St., Schenectady NY 12303. Holy Mass Sundays at 10am and Noon. Yes you can come. Yes, you can chart a course.