Take a ‘leap’ of faith on this year’s extra day, Feb. 29

We get an extra day this year. And it’s on a weekend. Our suggestion for Leap Day, Feb. 29? Take a leap of faith.

Because Leap Day 2020 falls at the beginning of Lent, our first recommendation would be to use it as a day to practice almsgiving, one of the season’s three “pillars” (prayer and fasting are the other two) and perhaps the most under-encouraged. Discuss in your household a charity serving the poor that would benefit from your extra, unexpected donation. Perhaps you can make an extra gift to your parish or school.

Here’s a good task for a Saturday: Make a phone call and invite a friend to Mass with you this weekend. Do you know someone not practicing the faith? Maybe a shut-in that could use a ride? Make the call.

How about taking a trip to a Catholic bookstore and finding some spiritual reading for the season? For the more tech-minded, use Saturday to download any of the excellent Catholic apps to assist you on your Lenten journey.

Many Catholics wait until the end of the Lenten season to make the sacrament of reconciliation. This year, why not seek out God’s forgiveness and mercy at the start of your journey? Why not on Saturday?

After all, Leap Days — which occur about once every four years — have something of a Catholic origin. Most of the world uses the Gregorian calendar. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII adjusted the calendar of that age to be in line with the astronomical calendar. Moreover, he determined the calendar was out of sync with the spring equinox by 10 days. That messed up the date of Easter, which takes place on the Sunday after the first full moon of spring.

We are grateful for the mathematical and scientific minds that worked all of this out. But we all can take a leap of faith. And what better day than Saturday? Use your imagination, offer a prayer, and take a leap. — Thomas J. Dermody




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