Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Much of what we think of and consider in our Lenten season consists of penance and sacrifice. We give things up that we enjoy, we fast from food and other treats, we restrain our desires so as to be more focused on God. But there’s a curious calculation of sorts that occurs in the forty days of Lent. From Ash Wednesday to the end of Lent, there are exactly 40 days; but only if you don’t include Sundays.

Hearkening to our Blessed Lord’s explanation as to why His disciples do not fast like those of John the Baptist, we may gain an understanding as to why those Sundays are left out of the accounting of the days of Lent. “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.” (Mk 2:19) As the day when the Resurrection is celebrated and the community shares in the Eucharist together, it kind of makes sense to refrain from fasting on such days.

The idea of celebrating appropriately is a very Catholic one. It’s not that our faith tells us to overindulge, indeed such things fall under gluttony and intemperance. But we as Catholics shouldn’t be afraid to enjoy ourselves when the occasion calls for it.

This Sunday presents to us several opportunities to enjoy. As mentioned, it is a day for our parish community to share in the goodness and the heavenly feast found in the Eucharist and the Mass. But in addition to that weekly chance to enjoy life, we are also treated to a Holy Name Pancake Breakfast as well as St. Patrick’s Day. In each of these events and the celebrations that surround them, there may be a bit of hesitancy when they fall in Lent. You may be thinking, “Can I have pancakes and Irish Soda Bread?” And the answer is yes.

Being penitential, especially during Lent, is an excellent thing. But our faith is not just about the doom and gloom. And when the opportunities to celebrate arise, not only is it okay, it should be encouraged. And so, I’ll be having my pancakes and sausage on Sunday and I hope that you do too! Not only are the Holy Name pancakes and sausage delicious, the funds raised because of them go to help those in need. It’s a win-win situation.

The proper balance between fasting and feasting, of penance and partying, are the hallmarks of a healthy and mature faith. When Monday comes, get back to giving up your favorite snacks and finish this Lent strong. But on a Sunday or a solemnity, it’s proper to enjoy the good things of life!

Peace and Goodness,
Fr. Dan