For most people, Lent is a solemn time of giving up things, going to church and praying more. Ed and I liked Lent. We signed our notes with “Happy Lent.” People would reply with surprise.
Ed and I liked that CNN, the History Channel, popular magazines and other non-religious media featured titles like, “The Life of Jesus,” “The Shroud of Turin,” “The Holy Land,” etc. Being religious seemed more popular during Lent.
Together, we eagerly watched, attended and read as many things as we could.
People asked about ashes on our foreheads. We responded by sharing our faith. People asked about our evening or weekend plans. We told them about retreats, faith movies, Friday night Stations of the Cross and weekend trips to visit churches with relics. Sometimes they asked for details and later thanked us.
At the end of our Happy Lent, our family dressed up and went to dinner, and then we celebrated with the Saturday-evening longer and less crowded Easter Vigil.
The Easter Vigil started with a blazing fire. The flame was passed from candle to candle. Our sons’ eyes looked in awe as the darkened church slowly illuminated. The decorations, incense, readings and music transported us through time from Genesis to the Resurrection. We left feeling joyful.
Afterward, we went home, changed into pajamas, had milk and cookies, and talked about the Vigil. We excitedly prepared for the Easter egg hunt and family gathering the next day. Once we had a bunny piñata that our son convinced us was too cute to break.
Now that Ed is in heaven and our sons are grown and live away, I continue Lenten traditions on my own with faith-filled friends and with Ed and the boys in my heart. It’s still a Happy Lent.
Leonor “Leo” and Ed Rivera were members of the local Worldwide Marriage Encounter community for 32 of their 34 years of marriage until Ed unexpectedly died of a genetic heart defect on Aug. 1, 2020. The next Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekend is April 22-24 at the Notre Dame Retreat House. For more information, visit https://www.wwme-wny.org/
To read more of Leo and Ed’s blogs, visit https://catholiccourier.com/viewpoints/blogs/to-have-and-to-hold.