Lent changing in U.S.

The Deseret News notes changes in the celebration of Ash Wednesday and Lent in The Episcopal Church and other church that mark this season. Social activism, taking time for reflection and the influence of Latino/Latina cultures all contribute to the evolution of the church season:

Goya Gallegos and Chris McAbee are both faithful Episcopalians who plan to attend an Ash Wednesday service next week to begin their observance of Lent.

But the meanings of the rituals they will perform in the 40 days before Easter are as different as their backgrounds.

Gallegos, a 41-year-old mother of four, expects that when her priest marks her forehead with an ashen cross, she will be filled with conflicting emotions of longing for her parents celebrating the same ritual in Zacatecas, Mexico, and joy for the beginning of her personal preparation for Easter.

“It is very difficult. There is a huge difference between celebrating Ash Wednesday here and in Mexico,” she said. Her large, dark eyes well with tears as she recalls the traditions of eating unique Lenten food, such as shrimp patties and bread pudding, before attending the evening church service with what seemed like the entire town.

McAbee, a 31-year-old history student at the University of Utah, will be in the same congregation to receive the imposition of ashes and begin what he says will be 40 days of quiet reflection and community service.

“This will be a time to reflect on my role in the world as a Christian,” said McAbee. “I believe I have a responsibility to step away from the chaos going on the world, think about it, explore it and find out exactly where I fit and how I can work with everyone around me.”

h/t to Neva Rae Fox

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