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Download the complete Lent guide here

Dear Friends,

              Did you know that the 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 cold grip of winter into the arms of spring.

              Most of us welcome spring with open arms – especially after that bitter cold snap in January. But wouldn’t it be great if we welcomed Lent as warmly! Lent means penance and self-denial and most of us are not much attracted to such things. I know I’m not. But penance and self-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 actually be at Mass each Sunday and to participate fully, actively, and consciously in the Mass, we would be doing something almost guaranteed to help us grow in faith and in our relationship with Christ and with our brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ. 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 making your family prayer at meal times—or your morning and evening prayers—a little less rote and a little more intentional; 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, too: Sunday afternoon Vespers and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, the Stations of the Cross on Mondays and Fridays; and joining in Adoration after Mass on Thursday mornings. You can also grow in faith and share your faith by taking part in our Lenten small groups. This year we are hosting a five-week series called Encounter: Meeting Christ and One Another, both via Zoom on Monday evenings, and in person on Thursday afternoons. Please consider joining in one of these groups, focused on the Gospels of the Lenten Sundays.

              Still one other opportunity for prayer this Lent is to pray for our “Elect," who will be baptized and confirmed and receive the Eucharist for the first time at the Easter Vigil. You can find their names in the bulletin. This can be a wonderful 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?

              And here’s another way of reaching out to those who are hungry and homeless. Why not volunteer to help out at the Cathedral Kitchen or to take a turn helping to prepare and serve our Sunday morning breakfast? These are great ways to be in solidarity with those who experience a “forced fast” every day. If you are interested, contact Patrick Barredo.

              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

MASS The Sunday and weekday Masses of Lent are the ideal way to grow closer to the Lord Jesus. The scriptural readings for are particularly rich in their ability to inspire and challenge. Weekday Masses are at 8:00am daily, and Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 12:10pm.
THE WAY OF THE CROSS is a wonderful Lenten tradition in the Church. There are two opportunities to pray the Stations each week: on Mondays following 12:10pm Mass, and Fridays following the 8:00am Mass. On Sunday, March 3, Cathedral youth readers will lead the Stations of the Cross following the 12 Noon Mass. The Cathedral’s Stations of the Cross are the work of Joan Brand-Landkamer, inspired by French artist Georges Rouault.
MENTAL HEALTH STATIONS OF THE CROSS Presented by the Mental Health and Wellness Ministry, Stations of the Cross with a focus on mental health concerns will be held after the 12:10pm Mass on Friday, March 8.
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 4pm.
CONTEMPLATIVE EVENING PRAYER  On Friday, March 1 at 6:30pm, you are invited to join in contemplative evening prayer with the music of the ecumenical community of Taizé, France.
PRAYING THE DIVINE MERCY CHAPLET ON THE FRIDAYS OF LENT  Each Friday of Lent at 3:00pm, you’re invited to join in praying the chaplet of the Divine Mercy. The Divine Mercy chaplet is a beautiful devotion, prayed with rosary beads. This prayer is offered on Zoom only, not in person. To join in, contact Caroline Okello, cokello@stjames-cathedral.org.
ADORATION OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT Each Thursday during Lent, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will follow the morning Mass and continue until 9:30am, with rosary and time for quiet adoration.
THE RICE BOWL is a wonderful way to grow in solidarity with 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 every Saturday from 8:30am-9:30am. Our communal celebrations of the Sacrament of Penance will be Saturday, March 16 at 10:00am, and Monday, March 18 at 7:00pm.
WOMEN’S LENTEN FAITH GROUP For all women at the Cathedral! Would you like to join with other parishioners to make new friends and build community as we share scripture and our faith journeys? We will gather in the Holy Names Room at the Pastoral Outreach Center for 5 Saturdays starting February 17, 3:00-4:30pm, attend any or all of the groups. Refreshments will be provided. Information, Anisa Ralls, 206-382-4269 or aralls@stjames-cathedral.org.
CABRINI FILM SCREENING: THURSDAY, MARCH 14 AT 7:15PM Mother Cabrini became a US Citizen in Seattle in 1909, and worshiped in the Cathedral in its early years. You are invited to join Father Ryan and fellow parishioners to see the new film together at Pacific Place Cinema. There is no charge but a donation of $10 per ticket is welcome. Advance reservation required! Information, Maria Laughlin, 206-382-4284 or mlaughlin@stjames-cathedral.org.

Meeting Christ and One Another
You are invited to join a simple small-group reflection based on the readings for each Sunday of Lent. Join us as we ponder the Word of God and pray that our hearts may be open to encounter Jesus in all the ways he comes to us: in word, in sacrament and in all his people.
Mondays—on Zoom
February 19, 26, March 4, 11, 18

Thursdays—Holy Names Room
February 15, 22, 29, March 7, 14

To register for either the in-person or Zoom session, email Maria Laughlin, mlaughlin@stjames-cathedral.org.


Friday, March 8 at 7:30pm

From the earliest days of the Christian tradition, the faithful have venerated the Virgin Mary through song, telling the story of her life and of the cosmic significance of her role as the Mother of God. This program presents music for her drawn from the Greek and Slavic traditions by both ancient and modern composers, featuring works by John Tavener. Tickets and more information, https://cappellaromana.org/concert/in-you-o-woman-full-of-grace/ or 503-236-8202. A limited number of pay-what-you-can parishioner passes are available at the parish office reception desk or through the Cathedral music office.
Saturday, March 16 at 8:00pm

Opus 7 presents an inventive and powerful concert of choral settings for the Lenten season, presenting psalms and spiritual songs on themes of individual and community petitions, thankfulness for being remembered, and confidence in God’s saving help. Tickets and more information, http://opus7.org/music/concerts/. A limited number of pay-what-you-can parishioner passes are available at the parish office reception desk or through the Cathedral music office.
Wednesday, March 27 at 7:00pm

The name Tenebræ (the Latin word for "shadows") was originally given to the ancient monastic services of matins (celebrated after midnight) and lauds (celebrated at dawn) of the last three days of Holy Week. By the late Middle Ages, these services were consolidated into a single daily celebration on each evening before Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday.
     Following numerous 20th-century papal reforms, Tenebræ today is celebrated in many different forms, which can include the chanting of the Lamentations of Jeremiah, in which each verse is introduced by a letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and the gradual extinguishing of candles and other lights in the church to signify the darkness that overshadowed the earth at Christ’s crucifixion. The loud noise, or strepitus, at the conclusion of the service suggests the earthquake described in the Passion narratives. The single candle left burning is the symbol and promise of Christ’s triumph over death and darkness.
     The Cathedral Cantorei will sing the Lamentations of Jeremiah and the sublime Miserere mei, Deus by Gregorio Allegri, as well as plainchant psalmody. Father Michael G. Ryan, presider.
Friday, March 29 from 12pm-3pm

We observe the traditional Good Friday devotion of Tre Ore (“Three Hours”) in which we remember the last words of Christ proclaimed from the cross. These brief exclamations from Jesus alternate with Joseph Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Christ and meditations by Father Ricky Manalo CP on the Seven Last Words of Christ. The Haydn is sung by the Cathedral Cantorei with the Cathedral Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Joseph Adam.  

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 those to be baptized at the Easter Vigil:

Tyler Gallagher ▪ Brady Gustafson James Harmon ▪ Nicole Osby-Evans Marcus Park ▪ Marc Reynolds  

Youth Elect: Mia Sarmiento-Velasco ▪ Josiah Scanlan Henry Schulz    

Please pray for our Elect each day during this season of Lent. As Easter draws near, you are invited to write a note telling our Elect of your prayerful support. The following are some important moments in the journey of our Catechumens:  

RITE OF ELECTION We begin a season of intensified preparation by celebrating the Rite of Election on February 17. 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 3, 10, and 17.  

SATURDAY, MARCH 30, 8:00pm: 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.   gustine 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. Ash Wednesday is February 14, 2024. Good Friday is March 29, 2024.

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


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Seattle, Washington  98104
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