Everyone who follows the liturgical calendar is talking about Easter this year....yes, it's the 2nd earliest date it can possibly be: March 23....and that makes Ash Wednesday, next week, unimaginably early, also. Nonetheless, even though our Liturgy Committee probably was finalizing their plans for Lent on January 3rd, more signs of "Lent-is-just-around-the-corner" are everywhere in the community.
Benetvision has sold thousands of its 2008 Lenten product, 40-Day Journey with Joan Chittister, ed. Beverly Lanzetta, (Augsburg Books).
The schola and handbell choirs have begun Lent and Easter songs (the schizophrenia needed in the world of music preparation!)
Wednesday and Friday meals will be simple: soup and bread/rolls beginning with 20 minutes of table reading. This year's book is Silence, Solitude, Simplicity: a hermit's love affair with a noisy, crowded and complicated world by Benedictine Sr. Jeremy Hall of Minnesota.
Small faith-sharing lectio groups are being formed. They will continue discussing Demetrius Dumm's book from the Advent groups.
Finally, the chapel environment artists are ready to swoop down next Tuesday evening to set up for our first season of Lent in the space.
P.S. And, even in a country where 30% of Catholics attend weekly mass and whatever-your-best-guess-is don't eat meat on Fridays in Lent, I'm sure McDonald's, restaurants of all sorts, and parish fundraising groups are well-stocked with the supplies needed for their fish fillet sandwiches and Friday "Lenten specials." (Every Thursday our local newspaper's insert, Showcase, carries big announcements of the week's Friday Lenten dinners around town. They are tremendously popular.)