Crescenta Valley Prepares for the Lenten Season

By Brandon HENSLEY

For some churches around the Foothills, the time has come to eat.

Fat Tuesday, a day allotted for Catholics and Protestants to fill up and celebrate life before going into a more solemn mode a day after, is this week and two churches are coming together in a sort of spiritual Thanksgiving.

Fat Tuesday, called Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day in England and Mardi Gras in France, is the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent leading up to Easter.

“It’s a time of reflection and penance and special spiritual disciplines through various forms of fasting,” said St. Luke’s of the Mountains’ Father Bryan Jones.

To recognize the week, St. George’s Episcopal Church and St. Luke’s Church will be coming together on Tuesday to recognize an anniversary of sorts.

A year ago, the rains flooded St. George’s, and the church couldn’t celebrate Fat Tuesday on its campus.

“Our parish hall was closed, so the people over at St. Luke’s invited us over to join them on their celebration, and so we had a real good time and they enjoyed it so much they invited us back,” said Rev. Anthony Keller of St. George’s.

“We just invited them over and now we’re making it a tradition,” said Jones. Keller said it was great to meet the newer people that had come over to St. Luke’s.

While Fat Tuesday is a day to, well, get fat, the Lenten Season brings about a different perspective that is important to Jones.

“We’re going to be reflective and disciplined and do things like study and [fast],” he said.

Jones added that things on this earth, including humans, are ephemeral.

[It’s] a sign of our mortality,”  he said. “We recognize that we’re not immortal. We say, ‘From dust you came, and from dust you shall return.’”

St. George’s though will get the party started sooner.

“We’re doing Shrove Sunday,” said Keller. On Sunday, Keller said his church will have a Dixieland band play, and after the party there will be a waffle bar.

During the Lenten Season, St. George’s will be hosting groups whose members will read books and study on what it means to have supper together, and every Thursday it will hold a group meeting called “Encounters with Jesus,” that will include visual arts, said Keller.

As secular culture continues to permeate through the religious world, the first images that come to mind when thinking about this holiday might be those of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and the excessive partying done on Bourbon Street.

Both Jones and Keller said they don’t see too many problems with that, although their challenge is to make it more relevant to the Church.

“Just like with Christmas, it’s become more of a secular event,” said Keller, but added it’s “not a bad thing.”

Jones said anything in moderation is just fine.

“We think generally life should be enjoyed and celebrated,” he said.

Church congregations are not the only ones celebrating Fat Tuesday. Several restaurants around town are as well including Franks Famous Kitchen. Their menu includes for lunch and dinner: Cajun Fried Chicken, Red Beans, Dirty Rice and Creole Vegetables (using zucchini instead of Okra) and Kings Cake.

Franks is located at 3315 N. Verdugo Road.

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