Ash Wednesday has come and gone and we are now underway along our forty-day journey through Lent to the Sacred Triduum. As I wrote about last week, the traditional pre-Lenten preparations of the Church began a few weeks ago. Since January 31st, we here at the seminary have all been adhering to increasing ascetical practices, culminating in penances that we will maintain throughout the forty days of Lent. But what about Shrove Tuesday?
Well, we made an exception. Shrove Tuesday is so named because it was your last day to be “shriven” or to go to confession before we enter into the sacred season. It is perhaps more commonly known as “Fat Tuesday” or Mardi Gras in French. Here at the seminary it is known as “Tononfest.”
Since we received our first class of seminarians, we have marked this event with the culinary talents of Deacon Peter Tonon, who serves at the parish of St. Ann where we lived for four years. Peter and his wife, Lucie, have been with us and supported us from the beginning, and this is displayed most aptly on Tononfest. As we have grown, however, so too have the demands for a larger feast!
Deacon Tonon starts the preparations a day in advance, ensuring that everything will be ready to eat for our 30+ residents by dinner on Fat Tuesday. What results is a spread of various delicious meats and sides that leave us sated and ready for a day of fasting and abstinence on Ash Wednesday.
This coming together in a small celebration before the beginning of Lent gives a taste of the hope that awaits us as we near the Resurrection of Christ and the Easter season. Catholics fast only to feast. We only deny so as to affirm that our greater love lies not here but in the eternal banquet of heaven.
As you begin your Lenten season, may you be steadfast in your prayers and penances. Let us continue to keep one another in prayer, that together we may become ever more faithful to our Lord this sacred season.