February 18, 2024

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

The word Lent comes from an old English word that means springtime. The Latin adverb lente means slowly. So as a vocabulary word, Lent means “a time to slowly prepare for spring”. To get ready for the new life of spring. Isn’t that what Lent does for us? It helps us deliberately prepare the new life brought forth by Jesus’s suffering, death, and resurrection at Easter. But where did Lent come from? How did it start?

In those first centuries after Jesus’ Ascension, each Sunday was a celebration of Easter. Since the Resurrection took place on a Sunday, every Sunday was a “little” Easter. A yearly big celebration then developed for the annual commemoration of the Lord’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection. This annual celebration of Easter became the time when people were baptized and became members of the Church. 

A time for final preparation was established for those preparing to make their baptismal promises. They would fast, do acts of penance, and spend time in extra prayer. This period became Lent. For those already baptized, Lent became a time of fasting, prayer, and sacrifice in preparation to renew their own baptismal promises at Easter.

Lent is a special time for those in the OCIA: Order of Christian Initiation of Adults (formerly called RCIA). It is a time when our catechumens (unbaptized) are prepared by special rites. These rites are celebrated within the parish community, which shows them encouragement as they prepare to join the Catholic Church. The first of these rites is celebrated today at the 11:30 a.m. Mass as our catechumens (unbaptized) are sent to be recognized by Bishop Senior at a special ceremony at the Cathedral this afternoon. Three more rites will be celebrated on Lent’s Third, Fourth, and Fifth Sundays in final preparation for the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Holy Eucharist at the Easter Vigil. 

Those already baptized in another Christian tradition (candidates) will make their Profession of Faith and be received into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil and receive the Sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Communion.  

Let’s pray for our Good Shepherd catechumens and candidates:


Unbaptized, preparing for Baptism, Confirmation, and First Eucharist 

Ryan Numfor • David Oliver • Lily Oliver • Charlotte Palmer • Diana Reed


Baptized, preparing for Confirmation and First Eucharist 

Kelsey Gentilini • Nate Nale • Scott Numfor • Janeen Oliver 

Megan Marra • Tiffany Koll • Patricia Thomas

Grace and peace,

Father Neil Sullivan