JACKSON, MISS– The day after Fat Tuesday is known as Ash Wednesday, and it starts the 40 days of Lent before Easter Sunday.
Predominately a Catholic practice, members of the church spend 40 days of Lent in fasting, prayer, sacrifice and growth.
“We have certain days of abstinence, where we won’t eat meat,” says Maureen Smith with the Catholic Diocese in Jackson, “it is a time to take stock of your spiritual self.”
Smith says that Lent isn’t just about diet and sacrifice, but about strengthening your spiritual self. She says Pope Francis sent a letter to the Catholic church about how this year’s Lenten season could be maximized.
“He wrote a letter, saying this is a year of jubilee and mercy,” says Smith, “so maybe what you could sacrifice is a grudge, and give forgiveness and mercy this season.”
Lent is not limited to the Catholic church, as congregations from many denominations spend the next 40 days preparing for Easter. While the Catholic structure of Lent may not be practiced, there is some resemblance to the traditions.
Brookhaven First Assembly of God Family Pastor Matt Taylor says Lent can be practiced by any looking to realign themselves with God.
“It is a good time of praying and fasting that you can experience over the next forty days.”
Easter Sunday is March 27th.