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Dear Friends,

Whether it comes early or late, Lent always has a way of sneaking up on me. This year it’s neither early nor late, but it has still caught me unawares. Happily, there are six weeks to get over my surprise and get used to it! And I’m sure I’ll need all six.

And there are plenty of good things to fill up those six weeks, plenty of offerings here at St. James to make this Lenten pilgrimage a rich and grace-filled experience. Let me mention a few.

Part one is PRAYER. The most important prayer we have is, of course, the Sunday Mass we celebrate here together in the Cathedral. If we were to do nothing more this Lent than to participate more fully, actively, and consciously in each of the Lenten Sunday celebrations, we would be doing something great. The Sundays of Lent are rich in opportunities for growth in faith and in the understanding of our faith. But we needn’t stop there. Lenten weekday Masses are also a wonderful way for deepening our walk with Christ during this holy season.

If you haven’t already done so, I urge you to consider being a part of one of our Pilgrim People bible study groups this Lent. The groups are offered in response to our parish survey, where so many of you asked for more chances to do Bible Study and for more opportunities to get to know one another and form relationships. This is your chance!

And here are some more possibilities: extending your family prayer at meal times, taking some time each day to read and reflect prayerfully on the Gospels; attending Vespers and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament on Sunday afternoons; joining in Contemplative Prayer around the Cross with music from Taize on First Fridays; praying the Stations of the Cross on Mondays, Wednesdays, or Fridays; or joining in the Lenten Holy Hour on Friday afternoons.

Still one other wonderful opportunity for prayer this Lent is the “adoption” of one of our “Elect” (the people who will be baptized and confirmed and receive the Eucharist for the first time at the Easter Vigil). “Adoption” means that you will take it on yourself to pray for that person in a special way all during Lent. Prayer cards will be available in the north aisle of the Cathedral and in the parish hall during the first few weeks of Lent, each one with the name of one of our Elect. If you take a card, (and I really hope you do), in addition to your prayer, you will be invited close to Easter time to write a card or short note telling your “adopted” friend of your prayerful support. This can be a wonderful and very ‘hands-on’ way of reaching out to our newest members, supporting them along their journey of faith. And it’s something everyone can do!

Part two of the Lenten regimen is FASTING. The church is wise in reminding us that fasting can help put us in closer contact with Jesus who willingly accepted suffering and even death in order to show us the depth of his love for us. What better way to draw close to Jesus than by freely denying ourselves some of life’s comforts? And what better way to draw close to the suffering people of the world—the hungry, the homeless, the hopeless—than by tasting, even in a small way, their cup of suffering?

Part three is ALMSGIVING. I like to connect this with fasting. Fasting can be no more than proudly flexing one’s spiritual muscles—the spiritual equivalent of strutting about the gym—if it is not related to reaching out to others. And again this year the Church offers you the perfect way to do just that. The Rice Bowl Program is the perfect vehicle for turning fasting into a work of Christian love. Think what will happen this Lent if you make the Rice Bowl your table centerpiece and then put into it each day or each week the money you have saved by eating a little more simply than usual. On Holy Thursday, when we invite all of you to bring forward your Rice Bowls at the collection time of the Mass, you will see in a powerful way how people who take Lent seriously can make a difference not only in their lives but in the lives of hungry people in our world.

It was at our baptism that we got our Christian “passport,” and it is our baptism that calls us to walk the Lenten journey with Jesus. May we walk the journey together in faith, hope, and love!

Father Michael G. Ryan

Download this guide to Lent in .pdf format here


Prayer During Lent

ASH WEDNESDAY is celebrated Wednesday, March 1. Masses are at 8:15am, 10:30am (with O’Dea High School), 12:10pm, and 6:00pm. (Please note the start time for the evening Mass of Ash Wednesday!) All are welcome to join in a Simple Supper sponsored by the Cathedral Kitchen following the 6:00pm Mass.
MASS The Masses of Lent are the ideal way to grow closer to the Lord Jesus. The scriptural readings for the Sunday and weekday celebrations are particularly rich in their ability to inspire and challenge. Weekday Masses are at 8:15am and 5:30pm.
PRAYING THE STATIONS is a wonderful Lenten tradition in the Church. There are three opportunities to pray the Stations each week: on Mondays following 12:10pm Midday Prayer, Wednesdays following the 5:30pm Mass, and Fridays following the 8:15am Mass (except First Fridays). The unique Stations of the Cross in the Cathedral are the work of Cathedral iconographer Joan Brand-Landkamer. They were inspired by the work of 20th-century French artist Georges Rouault. You can also pray the stations online by clicking here.
LITURGY OF THE HOURS Each weekday at 12:10pm in the Cathedral Chapel, we pray the Liturgy of the Hours. This short community prayer is based on the psalms, and includes readings from scripture and from our rich Catholic tradition.
LENTEN HOLY HOUR Each Friday during Lent, we will have a Holy Hour with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at 12 Noon. Holy Hour includes the Liturgy of the Hours, meditations, and rosary.
VESPERS AND BENEDICTION OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT This beautiful prayer is part of the Liturgy of the Hours, the official prayer of the Church. It is celebrated in the Cathedral each Sunday afternoon at 4:00pm.
THE RICE BOWL PROGRAM is a wonderful way to grow in solidarity with the poor and the millions in our world who lack the basic necessities of life. Rice Bowls are available in the vestibules of the Cathedral throughout Lent. Daily reflections available at www.crsricebowl.org.
CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER ON THE FRIDAYS OF LENT Mark your calendar! Our monthly prayer with music from Taizé will be on Friday, March 3 and Friday, April 7 at 6:30 pm in the Cathedral. All are invited to join in this meditative evening prayer with song, scripture, and silence.
SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION This Lent, there are many opportunities to celebrate the sacrament of God’s mercy. Confessions are heard each Saturday from 4:00—5:00pm. Our communal celebrations of the Sacrament of Penance will be Saturday, April 1 at 4:00pm and Monday, April 3 at 7:30pm.
CATHOLIC 101: THE SACRED TRIDUUM Wednesday, March 29, 2017, 7:00pm, Cathedral Place, Room 1EW. Director of Liturgy Corinna Laughlin leads us on a guided tour through the great liturgies of Holy Week.  

PILGRIM PEOPLE: OUR PARISH PROGRAM FOR LENT This Lent, we embark on a four-week scripture study, exploring stories of pilgrimage in the Old and New Testaments. Click here for information.  Materials are available in the Cathedral Bookstore, and registration for small groups is online. Groups will gather both at the Cathedral and in various neighborhoods—look for a group that fits with your schedule. This will be a wonderful way for us to draw together as a parish community. The series will culminate with an all-parish retreat led by Helen Oesterle, Saturday, April 1, from 9am-11am.

RCIA During Lent

JOURNEY OF THE ELECT  Lent is a time of intensive prayer and preparation for our Catechumens, who are preparing for Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil.  Soon they will no longer be called Catechumens, but Elect, following the celebration of the Rite of Election. This final period of purification and enlightenment, which, since the beginnings of the Church, has taken place during Lent, consists more of interior reflection than catechetical instruction.  It is intended to purify the hearts and minds of the Elect as they search their own consciences and do penance.  This period is also intended to enlighten their minds and hearts with a deeper knowledge of Christ the Savior.
Please pray for: Lance Bergstrom •   Kate Cheyne •   Lynda Hardwick •   
Mike Lowe •   Adriana Neagu •   Yi Wang •   Julia Smith 

Please pick up a prayer card at the Place of Prayer near the font. As Easter draws near, you will be invited to write a note telling our Elect of your prayerful support.
The following are some important dates in the journey of our Catechumens:
RITE OF ELECTION We begin a season of intensified preparation by celebrating the Rite of Election. On the basis of the testimony of sponsors and catechists, the Church judges the state of readiness of the Catechumens for baptism, and decides on their advancement toward the sacraments of initiation. This step is called “election” and is based on the Catechumens’ election by God, in whose name the Church acts. From this point on, those preparing for Baptism are referred to as the Elect.
THE SCRUTINIES Lent began in the Church as a time of intense spiritual preparation and healing for the Elect. On the third, fourth and fifth Sundays of Lent, the Church pours out her most powerful prayers for deliverance from sin and evil during the Scrutiny Rites. These rites will take place at the 10:00am Mass on March 19, March 26, and April 2.
SATURDAY, APRIL 15, 8:30pm: THE EASTER VIGIL On this holiest of nights, we celebrate the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist with our Elect. The Easter Vigil is the undisputed high point of the entire liturgical year, the “mother of all vigils,” as St. Augustine called it.

Official Lenten Regulations
from the Archdiocese of Seattle

For this penitential season, the Church draws on the wisdom of the Scriptures and tradition in suggesting a time of intense prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.  Catholics in the United States are obliged to abstain on Ash Wednesday and on all Fridays during the season of Lent.  Catholics are also obliged to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.  Self-imposed observance of fasting on all weekdays of Lent is strongly recommended, as is abstinence from meat on all Fridays of the year.  Ash Wednesday is March 1, 2017. Good Friday is April 14, 2017.

Fasting. On a day of fasting, one full meal is allowed. Two other meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to each one's needs, but together they should not equal the other full meal. Eating between meals is not permitted, but liquids, including milk and juices, are permitted.

Abstinence. On days of abstinence eating of meat is not allowed.

The obligation of fasting binds Catholics who are 18 - 59 years old.  The obligation of abstinence applies to those 14 years and older. The law does not oblige when health or ability to work would be seriously affected.

The Chancery

Choral Prayer for Lent

Saturday, March 18, 8:00pm
Join resident ensemble Opus 7, directed by Loren Pontén, for a stunning concert of dramatic choral music for the Lenten season by Pacific Northwest composer Bern Herbolsheimer. This performance will feature Herbolsheimer’s Stabat Mater; his monumental Seven Last Words and the deeply moving David Mourns, both for a cappella choir; as well as Blessed for women’s choir and piano. This concert is featured in the Herbolsheimer Festival, a year-long celebration of the composer’s musical legacy. Information and passes, www.opus7.org.  

Friday, March 31, 7:30pm
Russian Chant Festival
The men of Cappella Romana perform powerful chants and choral works in Slavonic that inspired the Russian orchestral masters Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Rimsky-Korsakov. Information and passes, www.cappellaromana.org.

Wednesday, April 5, 7:30pm
In a presentation by Cappella Romana and St. James Cathedral, Peter Phillips conducts his Grammy-award winning Tallis Scholars in the program Metamorphosis, including Renaissance masterpieces and music by modern composers John Tavener, Arvo Pärt, Igor Stravinsky, and Gustav Holst. Information and passes at www.cappellaromana.org.

 Wednesday, April 13, 7:30pm
Office of Tenebrae
Cathedral musicians chant this office as well as excerpts from the Leçons de Ténèbres by François Couperin, the Miserere Mei, Deus of Allegri, and other works for this solemn occasion. Father Ryan, presider. Free will offering.

Pope Francis' Lenten Message 2017

Lent is a new beginning, a path leading to the certain goal of Easter, Christ’s victory over death. This season urgently calls us to conversion. Christians are asked to return to God “with all their hearts” (Joel 2:12), to refuse to settle for mediocrity and to grow in friendship with the Lord. Jesus is the faithful friend who never abandons us. Even when we sin, he patiently awaits our return; by that patient expectation, he shows us his readiness to forgive.

Lent is a favorable season for deepening our spiritual life through the means of sanctification offered us by the Church: fasting, prayer and almsgiving. At the basis of everything is the word of God, which during this season we are invited to hear and ponder more deeply …

Dear friends, Lent is the favorable season for renewing our encounter with Christ, living in his word, in the sacraments and in our neighbour. The Lord, who overcame the deceptions of the Tempter during the forty days in the desert, shows us the path we must take. May the Holy Spirit lead us on a true journey of conversion, so that we can rediscover the gift of God’s word, be purified of the sin that blinds us, and serve Christ present in our brothers and sisters in need. I encourage all the faithful to express this spiritual renewal also by sharing in the Lenten Campaigns promoted by many Church organizations in different parts of the world, and thus to favor the culture of encounter in our one human family. Let us pray for one another so that, by sharing in the victory of Christ, we may open our doors to the weak and poor. Then we will be able to experience and share to the full the joy of Easter.  

Read the whole message at www.vatican.va

Pope Francis, Lent 2017


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804 Ninth Avenue
Seattle, Washington  98104
Phone 206.622.3559  Fax 206.622.5303