Lent will soon be here again — Ash Wednesday is Feb. 21. Lent is a time not just to improve our personal spiritual lives, but to reach out apostolically, as well.

Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl used this Lent as the occasion for his first pastoral letter, promoting confession. In it, he called on Catholics to be apostles of mercy by promoting the sacrament of reconciliation. He even announced that “during this Lenten season, beginning with the Wednesday of the first week of Lent until the Wednesday of Holy Week, priests will be available in every church throughout the archdiocese from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in order to hear confessions.”

His is just one follow-up from the U.S. bishops’ meeting in November, where the bishops together presented the document “Happy Are Those Who Are Called to His Supper.” It spells out common misconceptions about confession and Communion and is a great resource to get into the hands of pastors of parishes everywhere. Find it at USCCB.org.

Every Advent, the Register prints its guides on Mass, confession, prayer and general Catholic practices. But Lent is also a good time to promote these basics of the faith. Find the guides at our website, NCRegister.com. First, click on “Resources” then, click on “How to be a Catholic.”

Our “Resources” page also has a great “Lenten Guide” to click on. It gives the Church’s guidelines for fasting and abstinence and — under the heading “What to Give Up” — it offers great ideas for Lenten spiritual practices. 

Don’t pass up the opportunities Lent brings!