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St Roch Parish
332 Main Street
Oxford, MA 01540
Phone: (508) 987-8987 Fax: (508) 987-8938
A Parish of The Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester MA

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Mass Schedule Saturday: 4:00 PM Sunday: 8:30 & 11:00 AM Weekday Masses: Monday ~ Friday 8:30 am Confessions: 3:00 PM Saturday or anytime on request.
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A Guide To Fasting In Lent As we approach Lent, it might be helpful to review some information about fasting and abstinence. There are many kinds of fasts, and several reasons to fast. As Catholics, we tend to think of fasting as either reducing our food intake or giving up a treasured treat. The New Dictionary of Sacramental Worship lists four reasons for fasting:

1. For a feast

2. Preparation penance and atonement for sins

3. Acknowledgment all we have comes from God

4. Solidarity with those who live in want While our fasting might be for all of these reasons, in Lent we tend mostly to focus on the first two. What is a fast? But are we really fasting? Lent begins with the story of Jesus� fast in the desert�a fast of 40 days without food. Most of us have probably never been 40 hours without food. The definition of a fast for Catholics is eating only one full meal a day along with two smaller meals�a light breakfast and lunch and a normal dinner, for example. That�s pretty much what I eat every day, so it�s really not much of a fast. As Catholics, we are required to fast only two days out of the year�Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. We are also encouraged to fast, along with the elect, on Holy Saturday (those in preparation to receive the sacrament at the Easter Vigil through RCIA). The requirement to fast applies only to those who are between the ages of 18 and 60. I guess the thinking is that going without food would not be healthy for children and seniors. Really, though, all the fast asks of them is to not snack between meals, so I�m thinking we can encourage the fast for everyone, no matter what their age. The U.S. bishops recommend (but don�t require) that every day of Lent be a fast day. Given the very generous Catholic definition of fasting, that seems easily doable for the more devout among us. Perhaps as a particular preparation, we might all fast (eating only one full meal and two smaller meals) on all the Fridays of Lent. What about meatless Fridays? To be precise, going without meat on Fridays is not fasting; it is abstaining. Presumably you can eat until you burst, as long as there is no animal flesh on your Friday menu. Not really! Older Catholics can remember when all Fridays were abstinence days. Now, only Ash Wednesday, the Fridays in Lent, and Good Friday are so designated. The age range is expanded to all those 14 and older. One thing a lot of Catholics don�t know is that every Friday of the year is still designated as a penitential day. We are supposed to do some penitential act, such as abstaining from meat. The difference between today and my childhood is that the penitential act can be anything we want. It doesn�t have to be giving up meat, but we still have to do something. Should we give something up for Lent? Although not required by church law, it is a tradition for Catholics to give up something for Lent. Certainly we would want to imitate that practice. But it doesn�t have to be just about giving up something. The Catechism of the Catholic Church lists 20 different penitential actions we can engage in: 1. Gestures of reconciliation 2. Concern for the poor 3. The exercise and defense of justice and right 4. By the admission of faults to one�s brethren 5. Fraternal correction 6. Revision of life 7. Examination of conscience 8. Spiritual direction 9. Acceptance of suffering 10. Endurance of persecution for the sake of righteousness 11. Taking up our cross each day & following Jesus 12. Eucharist (separates us from sin) 13. Reading scripture 14. Praying the liturgy of the hours 15. Praying the lord�s prayer 16. Spiritual exercises 17. Penitential liturgies 18. Pilgrimages 19. Voluntary self-denial 20. Fraternal sharing The paschal fast has no sense of penance to it, but is totally focused on preparing for the feast. It begins at sundown on Holy Thursday and is broken by the celebration of the Easter Vigil. For the elect, the paschal fast is not only a reduction in food intake, but also a time of quiet, during which one �refrains from their usual activities, spending time in prayer and reflection�. Plan ahead to get all Easter preparations completed early to allow yourself focus on the fast. In essence, the paschal fast should be a time of intense focus on what the elect are about to celebrate. So what are you giving up for Lent? What are your plans for the time of the paschal fast (Holy Thursday night until the Vigil)?

Mission Statement

We the people of St. Roch Parish,
under the guidance of the Holy Spirit
are called to be a loving, sharing
and welcoming community
who are called to reach out to all.

Since we are a Eucharist people
who celebrate our common heritage of faith,
we rejoice and give thanks
for the diversity of our giftedness
and work together as an alive faith community
to discover and further develop these talents.

We also dedicate ourselves to ongoing
Christian formation with an awareness
of our responsibility to one another
and for one another.

Therefore, as an outward sign of God`s glory,
we the community of St. Roch are called
with peace and joy-filled enthusiasm
to live our Baptismal call
through responsible stewardship
in education, worship and service.



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