Among the various disciplines and customs associated with Great Lent, there are three which are inter-connected, often called the “pillars” or “hinges” of Lent. These are prayer, fasting, and alms-giving. In our eparchy there is a communal emphasis on alms-giving called “Shepherd’s Care.”
Each one of the faithful, and each family, is asked to make a real effort towards feeding the hungry, relieving those who are suffering, clothing the naked, etc. In parishes special offering boxes are distributed when we begin the Great Fast, and in our homes we strive to connect our fasting and abstinence with care for the poor, by a daily offering. At the end of the Fast all of the offerings are collected at church and the proceeds are then sent to the Eparchy to be distributed by our Bishop to the needy both at home and abroad.
It is a powerful means of allowing our other practices – prayer and fasting – to bear fruit. Whatever our humble efforts may be, we are able to unite them as a Church, family to family, parish to parish, and share in the work of God’s mercy to the “least of our brethren” wherever they are.
Here is a full color tri-fold brochure with more information on the Shepherd’s Care program.
Here is a 28-page handbook explaining how to celebrate Great and Holy Lent at home.