Lent Begins



It is extremely late this year but Lent is beginning.  Today is the first day of Lent.  I know traditionally Lent begins on Ash Wednesday which is two days from now, but I am a Byzantine as opposed to Roman Rite catholic.

As a kid I sometimes resented being Byzantine instead of Roman.  Not because I would have had two more days until Lent began.  That didn’t bother me.

I didn’t mind the meatless Wednesdays and Fridays during Lent.  Meatless Fridays were mandatory; meatless Wednesdays were optional.  I like fish so I didn’t mind two days a week with no meat.

Even fasting on the first day of Lent wasn’t too bad.  I could handle that.  What I didn’t like was that besides being a meatless day, on the first day of Lent we also abstained from all dairy products.  No milk.  So much for cereal for breakfast.  No bread.  There goes sandwiches for lunch.  No eggs.  There goes another good breakfast staple.  No butter…oh my!

Oatmeal was acceptable, but I don’t like oatmeal.  It is wall paper paste.  The only way I can get it down is smothered in sugar and swimming in milk.  I can’t have milk.  Non-dairy creamers just don’t do it for me.

Now that I am beyond a certain age I no longer have to keep that strict abstinence.  However, I still do keep it.  I still have oatmeal for breakfast.  I have found that with some sugar and dried cranberries I can eat it and enjoy it.  Dinner consists of raw fried potatoes, salmon, and zucchini.  Since the potatoes are fried in Crisco they are legal.

I no longer complain about being Byzantine.  I am proud of my heritage and don’t mind sharing our customs with anyone who asks.


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20 responses to “Lent Begins

  1. jumpofffindwings

    Loved reading this, and learning something about a religious distinction that I was unfamiliar with. This has been an edifying day for me, and it’s only 7 a.m. here! I found this online. Does it seem true to you? from https://www.eparchyofpassaic.com/history.htm

    “The Byzantine Catholic Church is an Eastern Church in union with Rome; Carpatho-Rusyn in background and flavor, but indeed an American Eastern Church celebrating the Gospel in words, symbols, and action. We are unique in our mystical theology, blending the colors of our many ikons with the congregational acapella chants; raising up our hands and our fragrant incense in prayer and inviting you to come and see who we are and what we are all about as part of the Eastern half of the Universal Church.”

  2. Loved learning about your traditions, Bob. Good luck with your abstinence today. It sounds like you have a wonderful dinner planned.

  3. Diane Anderson

    Our traditions enrich our faith, and so does sharing them with friends.

  4. I loved learning about your traditions and I had no idea there was a Byzantine and a Roman rite difference in Catholicism. I love a post that teaches me something new! I happen to love oatmeal, but only with sliced bananas and chocolate chips! It tastes a lot more like dessert than breakfast!

  5. Terje

    Culturally educating post. Oatmeal is healthier than cereal, so something in it. Full wheat rolled oats make a better porridge and with berries it tastes good.

  6. Like others who have commented today, I am delighted to learn about this new (branch)of Catholicism and how it is practised. How did this practice come to America? The usual way? One immigrant at a time?

  7. Alice Nine

    Traditions / customs can often be marking stone along our walk of faith. Salmon sounds lovely. I like to slice a cold baked potato and fry it. Would that be allowed?

  8. It’s so interesting how our feelings about our traditions change and we learn to appreciate them differently, maybe with more power to make our own decisions.

  9. I agree, Bonnie. I think as children we don’t always appreciate where we come from.

  10. I used to work at a very small school, and there was a staff member there who was Irish-Catholic. She would make pancakes for the whole school on Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Tuesday!) which I am now realizing must be tomorrow. I teach at a public school, so it seems a bit inappropriate, and I am not Catholic so is it weird to do at home? Never mind..I’m making them anyway!

  11. Very educative piece. I have learnt a lot about your faith. All the best in the weeks ahead. I hope to read more about the traditions involved.

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