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Dear Friends,

We have had a long lead-up to Lent this year—which, of course, means a late Easter. Maybe that’s good. Maybe we’re a little readier for Lent this year than last! One advantage of a late Lent is that it’s more likely to seem like spring—appropriately. From early days in the Church, Christian writers often referred to Lent as “sacred springtime.” And did you know that the very word Lent is an Old English word—a variation on the word “lengthen.” Spring is definitely in the wings: the days are lengthening, and we are moving steadily from the grip of a wild winter into the arms of spring.

Most of us welcome spring with open arms. Would that we welcomed Lent as warmly! Lent means penance and denial and most of us are not much attracted to such things. I know I’m not. But penance and denial can be paths to deeper growth and freedom, and the Church’s time-tried Lenten program is all about growth and freedom. And there are plenty of offerings here at St. James to make this Lenten pilgrimage a rich and grace-filled experience. Let me mention a few.

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 wonderfully worthwhile. 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.

Other Lenten prayer possibilities might include extending your family prayer at meal times, or taking some time each day to read and reflect prayerfully on a passage from one of the Gospels. And there are some wonderful prayer opportunities at the Cathedral: Sunday afternoon Vespers and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, the Stations of the Cross on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; and joining in Adoration after Mass on Thursday evenings.
This year for Lent we are trying something different: an all-parish “read” for Lent. We’ve chosen Jean Vanier’s We Need Each Other. This book about community, mercy, and forgiveness could not be more timely. I hope you will pick up a copy in the bookstore (or download it to your e-reader!) and join with fellow parishioners in meditating each day this Lent on the words of one of the saints of our time. In addition to what you can do at home, we will be hosting two evenings at the Cathedral where will gather to discuss the book. This will be a great opportunity to make new friends or connect with old ones and to share a simple meal together. These evenings will be March 25 and April 1. I hope you will save those dates.

Still one other wonderful opportunity for prayer this Lent is to pray for our “Elect” (the people who will be baptized and confirmed and receive the Eucharist for the first time at the Easter Vigil). Prayer cards will be available in the north aisle of the Cathedral, each one with the names of our Elect. 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 absolutely everyone can do!

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 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?

This year one way you might observe the call to fast during Lent is to reach out to those who are hungry. Why not volunteer to help one weekend with our new hearty breakfast for homeless men and women on Sunday mornings? Whether you come to help prepare the meal on a Saturday afternoon, or serve the meal early on Sunday, this is a great way to be in solidarity with those who experience a “forced fast” every day.

ALMSGIVING. The Rice Bowl 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 6. Masses are at 8:15am, 10:10am (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 ADORATION ON THURSDAY EVENINGS Each Thursday during Lent (except for March 7 and April 11), we will have an hour of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament following the 5:30pm evening Mass. It is a time for silent prayer in the presence of Christ, lasting until 7:00pm. Stay for the whole prayer or drop in for a few minutes.
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.

HOLY HOUR DURING LENT This year, we will have our regular First Friday Holy Hour on Friday, April 5 at 12 Noon, with rosary and Liturgy of the Hours.
THE RICE BOWL 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 in the vestibules of the Cathedral. Daily reflections available at www.crsricebowl.org.
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 6 at 4:00pm and Monday, April 8 at 7:30pm.
WE NEED EACH OTHER This year, the whole parish is invited to read a book together for Lent. We Need Each Other by Jean Vanier is a collection of talks he gave in Kenya in 2008. Published last fall, this volume is Jean Vanier at his best, the perfect reading for the holy season of Lent. For all who would like to share in a discussion about the book, we’ll gather for a simple supper and conversation on two Monday evenings during Lent. On the first evening, Monday, March 25, we’ll discuss chapters 1-4 and the following week, April 1, chapters 5-7. Visit the website for details. The book is available in the Cathedral Bookstore or on your Kindle or e-reader. Click here to learn more.
CATHOLIC 101: THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH IN WESTERN WASHINGTON Wednesday, March 27 at 7:00pm, Holy Names Room. Corinna Laughlin offers a whirlwind survey (and show and tell) of some of the men and women who have built up our local Church. This is a rare chance not only to learn about but to see some of the historical treasures of our local Church.
CHURCH REFORM: AN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE Thursday, April 4 at 7:00pm, Holy Names Room. As we face the current moment in the Catholic Church, we are reminded that the Church has faced times of great crisis and reform in the past. Father Pat Howell, SJ offers an historical overview of major reforms in the history of the Church and the lessons we can learn from the past to help us understand what is happening today. Click here to learn more.

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: Jacob Flores, Katy Pereira, and Averie Timoteo who will be baptized at the Easter Vigil
Please also pray for: Christina, Ciara, and Natalee Timoteo who will be received into Full Communion  
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 24, March 31, and April 7.
SATURDAY, APRIL 20, 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 6, 2019. Good Friday is April 19, 2019.

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 23 at 8:00pm
The King of Glory
Jubilate! joins Opus 7 for NW composer John Muehlheisen’s The King of Glory. This Lenten program features the dramatic Requiem for choir and chamber string orchestra by Armenian composer Tigran Mansurian. Pre-concert talk at 7:00pm on the second floor of Cathedral Place. Information and reserved passes: 206-782-2899 or www.opus7.org .
Saturday, April 6 at 8:00pm
The Tallis Scholars
Cappella Romana presents the world-renowned Tallis Scholars, directed by Peter Phillips, for an evening of soaring Renaissance music inspired by the Sistine Chapel. The program includes Allegri’s Miserere mei Deus and music by Palestrina, Josquin, Morales, and more. Pre-concert talk at 7:00pm on the second floor of Cathedral Place. Information and reserved passes: 503-236-8202 or www.cappellaromana.org .
Wednesday, April 17 at 7:30pm
The Office of Tenebræ
Each year during Holy Week, St. James Cathedral observes the office of Tenebræ (“shadows”) in which the sufferings of Christ are foretold in the Lamentations of Jeremiah (setting by Thomas Tallis) and commemorated in the slow extinguishing of candles. The Very Reverend Michael G. Ryan, presider. No passes required.


Pope Francis on Lent

Lent is the ideal time to... allow our hearts to beat once more in tune with the vibrant heart of Jesus. The whole of the Lenten season is imbued with this conviction, which we could say is echoed by three words offered to us in order to rekindle the heart of the believer: pause, see and return.

Pause a little, leave behind the unrest and commotion that fill the soul with bitter feelings which never get us anywhere. Pause from this compulsion to a fast-paced life that scatters, divides and ultimately destroys time with family, with friends, with children, with grandparents, and time as a gift… time with God.

Pause for a little while, refrain from the need to show off and be seen by all, to continually appear on the “noticeboard” that makes us forget the value of intimacy and recollection. 

Pause for a little while, refrain from haughty looks, from fleeting and pejorative comments that arise from forgetting tenderness, compassion and reverence for the encounter with others, particularly those who are vulnerable, hurt and even immersed in sin and error...

Pause in order to look and contemplate!

See the gestures that prevent the extinguishing of charity, that keep the flame of faith and hope alive. Look at faces alive with God’s tenderness and goodness working in our midst…. See the faces of our sick people and the many who take care of them; faces which in their vulnerability and service remind us that the value of each person can never be reduced to a question of calculation or utility. 

See the remorseful faces of so many who try to repair their errors and mistakes, and who from their misfortune and suffering fight to transform their situations and move forward. 

See and contemplate the face of Crucified Love, who today from the cross continues to bring us hope, his hand held out to those who feel crucified, who experience in their lives the burden of failure, disappointment and heartbreak.
See and contemplate the real face of Christ crucified out of love for everyone, without exception. For everyone? Yes, for everyone....

Pause, see and return. Return to the house of your Father. Return without fear to those outstretched, eager arms of your Father, who is rich in mercy (cf. Eph 2:4), who awaits you.

Return without fear, for this is the favourable time to come home, to the home of my Father and your Father (cf. Jn 20:17). It is the time for allowing one’s heart to be touched… Persisting on the path of evil only gives rise to disappointment and sadness. True life is something quite distinct and our heart indeed knows this. God does not tire, nor will he tire, of holding out his hand. 

Pope Francis, Ash Wednesday 2018


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804 Ninth Avenue
Seattle, Washington  98104
Phone 206.622.3559  Fax 206.622.5303