Lent: It’s Not Just for Catholics Anymore

Woman receives ashes from street chaplain on Ash Wednesday in Tennessee. (CNS photo/Kathleen Barry, UMNS)

A growing interest in the tradition of Lent is giving Protestants something more in common with Catholics. Though slightly different in practice, some call this a step toward convergence in the global church. Christopher Ruddy, an associate professor at The Catholic University of America who is an expert on ecumenism and ecclesiology, said of the Protestant churches rediscovering Lent, “There’s certainly a sense of a spiritual desire to prepare for Lent...a desire of conversion.” Washington’s multisite National Community Church is one among several Protestant churches to have adopted Lenten practices of fasting and giving up material things and habits. “Lent is about repentance; it’s about confession,” Joel Schmidgall, the church’s executive pastor, said in a sermon on March 2. “It’s about pruning and cutting things back so that you can grow closer to Christ.”

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