Five ways to add meaning to the Lenten season

By Paul McMullen
March 5 marks Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. Here are five ways to add meaning to the season.
1.     CRS Rice Bowl
Lent is a time to pray, fast and give to the poor, which Baltimore-based Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. Catholic bishops’ international relief agency, supports through its Rice Bowl program. Collect Lenten alms in an official CRS “Rice Bowl,” in a homemade one or using the CRS app, and make use of daily reflections, prayers and meatless recipes. For more information, visit or call 1-800-222-0025.
2.     Break bread with the Knights
Catholics 14-and-older observe the practice of abstaining from meat on Ash Wednesday and Fridays in Lent. Fortunately, the Knights of Columbus provide fellowship and reasonably-priced fish frys that are a great way to start the weekend. To locate the fish fry nearest your parish, check your bulletin or ask a Knight. There are also fish frys listed on the CatholicReview online calendar. To enter your fish fry in the calendar, click here
3.     Make a stand and march
The Maryland March for Life is March 10, in Annapolis. This year’s featured speaker is Ryan Bomberger, founder of the Radiance Foundation, who was conceived in rape and adopted. The march follows 5:15 p.m. Mass at St. Mary’s Church, with Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski celebrating. For more information, visit Just before the start of Holy Week, the archdiocesan Youth and Young Adult Pilgrimage will be held in Baltimore April 12.
(Tom McCarthy Jr. | CR Staff)
4.     Listen, watch
Cardinal Seán O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, will give the keynote address and headline a panel discussion at “The Francis Factor,” a symposium to be held March 18 at 7 p.m. at Loyola University Maryland’s Reitz Arena. Follow for an article, and the Catholic Review twitter account for live tweeting from the event. 
Find time for a screening of “Son of God.” Told from the perspective on an elderly St. John, it was produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, the husband-and-wife team behind “The Bible,” the critically acclaimed 2013 miniseries on the History cable channel.

Diego Morgado stars in a scene from the movie “Son of God.” The film is one of several biblical epics Hollywood is expected to release in coming weeks.(CNS photo/Fox)

5.     Reconcile
The archdiocese again will promote the sacrament of reconciliation through the “Light is on for You” program. In addition to regular parish schedules, every parish will offer the sacrament Friday, April 11, from 3 to 8 p.m. 
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