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St. Elizabeth of Hungary 7th grader Marcello Carrillo II is looking forward to his family's tradition of an Easter cookout followed by a hunt for Easter Eggs. Like his classmates, and millions of Christians across the globe, he has given up something for the 40 days of Lent and is focusing on his relationship with God.

Forty Days of Lent and Sacrifice are about to end with Joy on Easter Sunday

Easter is the celebration of Christ’s Resurrection, and is considered the most important feast of the liturgical year. Christians prepare for Easter during Lent, a period of 40 days of fasting and prayer, starting on Ash Wednesday and concluding on Holy Thursday, which this year is this Thursday, April 13, 2017.

In Lent, many Christians commit to fasting, as well as "giving up" certain favorite things—luxuries--in order to "replicate the sacrifice of Jesus Christ’s journey into the desert.”

Roman Catholic churches and some protestant churches also remove flowers from their altars and cover crosses, religious statues, and other elaborate religious symbols in violet fabrics in solemn observance of the event.

Catholics also are asked to give up meat on Fridays during Lent. This tradition is meant to help Catholics remember Jesus as they sit down for dinner at night at the end of a busy week, to pray for each-other and those who need to know God. Very young children, pregnant women and the elderly are exempt from this abstention, recognizing that growing bodies need lots of protein to stay healthy.

Students in Catholic schools are often asked to declare what they are giving up, so that their peers can encourage them to stay strong and remember what Jesus gave up for them.

St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic School in Oak Cliff is following in this tradition, and the school’s Religious Coordinator, teacher Gina Gresham, asked her 7th grade students to write down what each was giving up, and doing more of, during the Lenten season. Recognizing that writing down your goals cements them more in your life, each student did just that.

Alayna Prasifka took her assignment seriously. “This year for Lent I am adding and changing somethings in my life. I am trying to add three fruits and three vegetables a day to my diet. I am also trying to add more Scripture reading to my religious life.” She also plans to “stop procrastinating.”

Thirteen-year-old Evelyn Santos chose to “stop bringing myself down, stop letting people get to me, and stop procrastinating,” and says, “I am helping my mother more around the house,” during the 40 days of Lent. She looks forward to her family’s Easter traditions. “We all go to Sunday Mass together then we eat a big family brunch!”

Both Jennifer Jochim, 14, and Aileen Arreola, 13, are giving up watching anime to have more time to do more service. Jennifer will spend her extra time helping abandoned animals at the SPCA, while Aileen will spend her time praying in Mass.

Twelve-year-old Isaiah Mendoza is giving up fried foods and his iPod for the forty days of Lent, and will be helping his mother more around their home. He looks forward to Easter Sunday and the family tradition of finding colored eggs in the backyard.

Luc Solis says he is doing more almsgiving this Lenten season, and looks forward to going to visit his aunt and uncle’s house on Easter, where he’ll visit with his extended family and “eat a ton of good food and watch the little kids find eggs and play.”

Not just 7th graders are giving up some favorite thing for Lent. Joseph Rodriguez, a high school senior from Cedar Hill who's already accepted to attend West Virginia University in the fall, has also given up sweets and soda for 40 days. It’s not a big deal to Joey. Losing his baby sister, Reagan Joy, to childhood Cancer has made the holidays hard on his family. He and his parents and older sister Megan attend Mass together, and then go to visit Reagan’s gravesite. Throughout the year, the family works at various events together to raise Childhood Cancer Awareness through their support of several fund raisers. Keeping her memory alive is similar to the dying and rising of the Easter Passion story. It has made Joey a stronger individual, capable of taking on new challenges—like going far away to college.

Adults also give up favorite things for Lent, to remember the sacrifice Jesus made. East Dallas resident and ESPN Project manager Josey Warnick gave up beer. That might sound funny to some, but she is surrounded by friends and co-workers who drink it as they get off work, and four nights a week she works as a bartender at Alfonso’s Italian Restaurant in Lake Highlands, so each beer ordered reminds her to remember what Jesus gave up for her. It’s a daily reminder--a good way for her--to draw closer to God.

If you have questions about Lent or the Easter traditions, contact Ms. Grisham at ggresham@saintspride.com

St. Elizabeth’s if located and 4019 South Hampton Road in south Dallas. The Catholic School has been in existence since 1958 and is open to students of all faiths. The school is having a Cinco Day Mayo Fiesta Celebration and Auction on May 5th at 1004 Fort Worth Avenue, Dallas, 75208. For more information contact Sandy Walker at Sandy Walkley at: swalkley@saintspride.com
(214) 331-5139 x21

 

Judy Porter writes about local heroes and businesses. Contact her at judy-porter@sbcglobal.net

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