Pancakes and ashes to mark beginning of Lent at St. Patrick’s

By Sally Neel
Special to The PREVIEW

The memories of the Christmas season have faded and the snow has made its home on our lawns. It is time to retreat into Lent, a season of contemplation.

But, first, there is the prerequisite Mardi Gras, also known as Fat (or Shrove) Tuesday. It is the last hurrah, the day to eat, drink and be merry.

On Tuesday, Feb. 28, from 5 to 6:30 p.m., the Men of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church will hold a traditional pancake dinner in the church parish hall. For only $5 ($10 per family), the men will serve all-you-can-eat pancakes and sausages in a festive Mardi Gras atmosphere.

The proceeds go to help with outreach projects, such as providing solar panels to homes in Navajoland so that the Navajos can have electricity.

“There are 16,000 homes in Navajoland without electricity,” said Fr. Doug Neel, rector of St. Patrick’s. “The small solar panels cost $300 each and provide enough electricity for two lights and a cellphone recharger. While that seems like a small amount, it is hard to imagine having no lighting at all. The men of our parish have been partnering with St. Mark’s Episcopal in Durango and St. Barnabus in Cortez on this project and it is making a difference.”

In addition to the solar panel project, the men have provided wooden crosses to mark graves in Navajoland and have worked to paint and repair community buildings and the small church.

“There is a strong Episcopal presence in Navajoland, one that began with a medical mission in 1894. We at St. Patrick’s are very happy to be a part of the effort to help these indigenous people in their efforts to be more self-sufficient.”

For more information about the Episcopal Church in Navajoland, go to www.navajoland.org. Extra donations are welcome and appreciated.

The pancake supper is always a fun and traditional way to begin the season of Lent. Those who attend will have the additional pleasure of knowing that the cost of their meal will be helping people in need.

On Wednesday, March 1, at 6 p.m., the Ash Wednesday service will officially mark the beginning of the holy season of Lent. This beautiful service, complete with music, Holy Eucharist and the administration of ashes to the forehead in the shape of the cross marks the official beginning of the season of Lent. The ashes remind us of our mortality and our reliance on God’s love and forgiveness.

The season of Lent is a time of penitence, a time to reflect on the ways in which we deny Christ, insist on our own way and close ourselves off from the love of God. The season’s climax is Holy Week in which Christians symbolically walk with Christ during the last week of his life, celebrating the Last Supper (Maundy Thursday), Christ’s crucifixion (Good Friday), the Light of Christ returning to the world (the Great Vigil of Easter) and Christ’s resurrection (Easter Day).

“These powerful celebrations are intensified by our own disciplined prayer and repentance during the season of Lent,” said Neel. “We invite anyone who wishes to take this spiritual journey with us to join us.”

You do not have to be Episcopalian to attend. All are welcome. St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church is located at 225 S. Pagosa Blvd.

This story was posted on February 26, 2017.