City & Region
Sunday, Feb. 25
For much of Christianity, this is the first day of Shrovetide (the last three days before Lent). It refers to the old practice of being shriven, or "written down" by a priest, who would hear confessions and give individual lists of Lenten penance.
Mainline Protestant, Lutheran, Episcopalian Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Last Sunday After Epiphany.
Eastern Orthodox Cheese Fare Sunday, the last day for dairy and fish before Clean Monday, which begins Great Lent.
Also the Sunday of Forgiveness, a day for asking and seeking forgiveness in preparation for the Great Fast. This spiritually cleansing ritual is in keeping with Jesus' teaching to make peace first, then offer a sacrifice. Some churches have an evening service of forgiveness in which people and clergy kneel one by one before each other and ask forgiveness.
Baha'i Ayyam-i-Ha holiday begins at sunset. These four "Days of Divine Essence" are added to the Baha'i calendar to complete the solar year. The faithful see this as a period outside normal time. The holiday is marked by festivities, gift-giving, charitable acts, and spiritual contemplation.
Episcopalian World Mission Sunday. Churches across the country offer special prayers, homilies and collections on behalf of mission workers.
Episcopal, Lutheran Joint communion service by St. Philip-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church in Oreland and Grace Lutheran Church in Wyndmoor to celebrate the recent "Called to Common Mission" agreement between their two national church bodies. 10 a.m. at St. Philip's, 317 Oreland Mill Rd.
Brethren in Christ Three-night Renewal Services at New Covenant Church, 50 E. Paletown Rd., Quakertown. Today at 10 and 6:30; tomorrow and Tuesday at 6:30.
Monday, Feb. 26
Eastern Orthodox Clean Monday, which begins the Great Fast, also known as Great Lent. Meat, fish and animal products are to be avoided for the seven weeks until Holy Pascha, April 15.
Tuesday, Feb. 27
Christian Shrove Tuesday, when all feasting food is eaten for the last time before the Lenten fast. This is a traditional day for clearing luxuries out of the house. Some churches have gatherings featuring pancakes fried in fat, while other Christians celebrate this as "Doughnut Day." Pre-Lenten binges of irreverence known as carnivals occur in many cultures, including Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) in New Orleans.
Ukrainian Catholic Pontifical ceremony to install Bishop Stefan Soroka as archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, a rank that makes him archbishop-metropolitan of the Ukrainian Church in America. Participants will include Pope John Paul II's U.S. ambassador, Papal Nuncio Gabriel Montalvo, and about three dozen bishops and cardinals including Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua. 2:30 p.m., Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 833 N. Franklin St.
Wednesday, Feb. 28
Christian Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent for most of the Christian world. It is a spiritually charged day for Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran and many Mainline Protestant faithful. People traditionally receive a cross of ashes on the forehead as a symbol of purification and mortality.
An Ash Wednesday liturgy will be celebrated at 12:05 p.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul, 18th St. and the Parkway. Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua is celebrant and homilist.
Friday, March 2
Baha'i Start of the 19-Day Fast. 'Ala ("Loftiness"), the final month of the Baha'i year, begins today and brings on a fasting period. People fast from sunrise to sunset, and often gather in the evenings to eat, socialize and pray. This is in preparation for the Baha'i new year, Naw Ruz.
Christian Ecumenical World Day of Prayer, an annual event of Church Women United. This year's theme, written by women in Samoa, is "Informed Prayer, Prayerful Action." Services are held in 170 countries. Local services include: 1 p.m. at Reformed Church of the Ascension, 1700 W. Main St., Jeffersonville, and 1 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 356 Summit Rd., Springfield (Delco).
Muslim Jum'ah, the weekly congregational prayers, begins about noon.
Jewish Candlelighting at 5:35 p.m. begins Shabbat, the weekly sabbath.
Saturday, March 3
Eastern Orthodox Blessing of kolivas. During Triodion, some parishioners present wheat confections, known as kolivas to Greek Orthodox, that bear the initials of loved ones. (Wheat symbolizes the resurrection of the dead.) The kolivas are blessed by the priests and shared with congregants.
Jewish Torah portion Terumah (in which God details the construction of the tabernacle to Moses) is chanted aloud in synagogues. Being the sabbath before Purim, it is also the occasion for reading Parshat Zachor from a second scroll.
Roman Catholic Feast Day of Blessed Katharine Drexel, who was canonized in October. Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua presides at a feast day Mass at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul, 18th Street and the Parkway.
Sunday, March 4
Roman Catholic, Mainline Protestant, Lutheran, Episcopalian First Sunday of Lent. Vestments purple or blue, for penitence.
Eastern Orthodox Sunday of Orthodoxy. It commemorates the restoration of the plundered icons in the eighth century in Constantinople. At joint vespers services, congregations from various nationalities gather to affirm Orthodoxy.
Christian Ecumenical 12th annual Black Church Week for Healing of AIDS begins. Locally, Deliverance Evangelistic Church, 2059 W. Glenwod Ave., hosts a prayer service at 6 p.m.
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