Monsignor James Barker, pastor of Saint Ignatius Church in Hickory, encourages parishioners to take time during Lent to participate in the weekday Mass services, which will be held at 7:30 and 9 a.m. Monday through Friday, and at 8 a.m. Saturday, in addition to the regular Sunday Mass.
Writing in the current church bulletin, he also encouraged parishioners to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, or confession, take part in Stations of the Cross at 3:30 and 7 p.m. Fridays, take senior citizens to Mass and many other activities.
"May the upcoming Holy Season be a time of renewal and re-creation for you in terms of your Spiritual Life with Christ." Barker wrote. "I look forward to seeing you this week for Ash Wednesday."
Schleupner, of St. Margaret's, talked about how Lent is also a time of moderate fasting for Catholics.
The church held a Shrove Tuesday dinner on Tuesday. Schleupner called it a "Mardi Gras type of dinner," with dishes such as pancakes, fruits, doughnuts and more.
"You get rid of all the fats and the lards, the things that make nice tasty treats," he said. "You get rid of them because you're going to be doing some fasting for the next 40 days."
Schleupner said Catholics are not typically asked to undertake a strict fast by going an entire day without eating or drinking.
"What Catholicism asks of all Catholics is to limit the amount of your food, so you don't just not eat anything, but what Catholicism generally asks is, your breakfast and lunch would be very modest and would together be less than what you would eat at dinner time," he explained.
Catholics also should not eat between meals during Lent, and abstain from eating meat on Fridays. They are asked, as well, to give up certain foods, drinks or activities they enjoy for several days a week during the Lent season.
"One of the purposes of fasting from food is to get in touch spiritually, to get in touch with, what kind of behavior should I fast from and get away from," Schleupner said.
St. Margaret's will also have morning Mass during the week, at 6:30 and 8:30 a.m. daily, as well as Stations of the Cross on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. and Fridays at 12:15 and 7:30 p.m.
Sacrament of Reconciliation will take place Wednesday evenings in addition to the traditional Saturday afternoon and evening confessions.
Every Friday evening have a Lenten supper will also be held each Friday at 6 p.m. in the parish hall.
"A rather simple Lenten meal, but it's decent," Schleupner said. "It's a family-oriented event, followed by maybe a 20-minute spiritual reflection."