Every year around this time, I have several questions from parishioners about visible changes to the liturgy that they have noticed during Lent.
First of all, I am delighted that people do notice changes. There is a reason for everything that we do at Mass and similarly a reason for anything that we do differently at certain times in the liturgical year.
Here is a very helpful post on this subject. (H/T to Jimmy Akin )
A brief summary of the points made (my comments have been added in blue):