Lent



Lent1

Lent is the perfect catechetical season.  A catechist as well as a parent can find a plethora of ideas about how to practice and live out Lent.  I would like to share ideas in 3 categories (be aware that some ideas will overlap): Family Ideas, Classroom Ideas and Personal Ideas.  I hope the following links will help assist you as a parent or a catechist in assisting your students to grow closer to Christ this Lent.

Family Ideas:

Prayer

~ Pray the Rosary and/or Divine Mercy Chaplet regularly as a family – on the way to/from school, or right after dinner.

~ Read the Bible/pray with your kids before bedtime during Lent.

~ Pray the Station of the Cross at 7pm each Friday at Ascension or at home: http://catholicicing.com/2011/03/printable-stations-of-cross-for/

Fasting

~ Have a day where the TV Stays off (Maybe Fridays during Lent)
~ Fast from Cell phone use, internet, video games from after dinner until bedtime.
~ Fast from going out to eat. Give the extra money to the poor.
~ Fast from gossip or negative thoughts.
~ Fast from eating between meals.
~ Fast from dessert a few times a week.
~ Fast from being lazy (that attitude that says: someone else will do it.
~Listen to Christian Music 97.3 FM or Catholic Radio 1090AM in your car during all of Lent.

Almsgiving

~Sign up for Holy Hero’s daily Lenten email: http://www.holyheroes.com/Holy-Heroes-Lenten-Adventure-s/37.htm

~ Lenten Calendar: http://catholicicing.com/2011/02/printable-lenten-calendar-for-kids/

~ Give money as a family to the poor: Operation Rice Bowl.

~ Spend more time with family.

~ Be positive (maybe charge .25 cents for every negative comment at home and then give the money to a charity).

~ Family Chart:  http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/activities/view.cfm?id=1018 

~ Lenten Sacrifice Beans: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/activities/view.cfm?id=295

 

Classroom Ideas

~ Prayer Service: http://www.rtjscreativecatechist.com/articles/activities/seasonal/2012/02-28/lenten-prayer-service

~Puppet Show Scripts: http://catholicmom.com/kids/puppet-ministry/

~ Ideas from Our Sunday Visitor: https://www.osvparish.com/ResourceLibrary/FaithatHome/TeachingCatholicKids.aspx

~ Some Lenten Lesson Plans: http://www.catholicmom.com/2007_lesson_plans/Lent.pdf

~ Stations of the Cross Bingo: http://www.catholicmom.com/2007_lesson_plans/stations_bingo.pdf

~ Lent Lapbooks: http://catholicblogger1.blogspot.com/2010/02/lent-lapbooks.html

~ Printable Lenten Calendar: http://catholicicing.com/2011/02/printable-lenten-calendar-for-kids/

~ NOW Cross: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/activities/view.cfm?id=1019

Personal Ideas:

~ 7 Great Book Recommendations: http://rcspiritualdirection.com/blog/2013/02/06/deeper-in-prayer-during-lent

~ Take time to pray at lunchtime instead of going out with friends or surfing the internet.
~ Read a Psalm each day during Lent.
~ At 3:00pm each day pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet or take a moment to pause in prayer remember the hour that Christ died.
~ Pray the Seven Penitential Psalms – maybe one each day of the week throughout Lent (Psalm 6, 31, 50, 101, 129 and 142).

~ Go out of your way to do one kind deed each day.

~ Do things for people each week without them knowing.

~ Be positive and reflect joy during Lent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This week sums up the Liturgical Year in a nutshell.  It is the climax of Salvation History.  The word Holy means “set apart” and this week should be set apart from other weeks. Attending Holy Thursday Mass and the Good Friday Service are good ways to take the time to enter into this week, but also consider the following ideas from various websites and blogs as ways to make Holy week a special week.

Catholic Mom provides a good list of resources.

Scott Reichart had some pretty good general resources

Elementary Age

Last Supper Craft

Demonstrate the Death and Resurrection by using a seed

Holy Week Inspirational Video

Middle School – High School

some good videos:

Palm Sunday: http://youtu.be/Y3Vor55BoE0

Face of Love: http://youtu.be/JWhTEDsPQYY

PASSIONate Love: http://youtu.be/A2P3nt5fnjg

Easter: http://youtu.be/-AwTPQj_H_k


Do you ever teach and/or draw your students in by using the texts from the liturgy?  Liturgical texts are an invaluable way to help your students encounter Christ.

For example, Sunday March 11th’s opening prayer was:

Collect: O God, author of every mercy and of all goodness, who in fasting, prayer and almsgiving have shown us a remedy for sin, look graciously on this confession of our lowliness, that we, who are bowed down by our conscience, may always be lifted up by your mercy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

 

Ways you could teach from this:

The 3 traditional practices of Lent are a way to “remedy” sin in our lives.  We don’t do it just to be good Catholics or because we’ve always done something for Lent, but we practices fasting, prayer and almsgiving in order to rid our lives of sinful tendencies and behaviors so that we can become more united to Christ, more open to His ways, more available to doing God’s will.

 

Also, teaching students that when we examine our conscience and identify the sin or sins that need to be gotten rid of as well as forgiven we should remember that God’s mercy lifts us up (we don’t have to stay down or stuck in our sin, but God’s mercy lifts/raises us to a life that is renewed in Christ.  We indeed can begin again.

 

Another Example

The Liturgy of the Hours provides many great bite size teaching points that are invaluable.  Take for example the Antiphon for the Canticle of Zechariah for morning prayer on Palm Sunday: “With palms let us welcome the Lord as he comes, with songs and hymns let us run to meet him, as we offer him our joyful worship and sing: Blessed be the Lord!”

~ Before praying the canticle with your students or audience one could reflect upon this antiphon.  Sharing with them that our palms are a way to concretely welcome the Lord as He comes — and doing it with songs and hymns.  Music is central the the life of the Church and to drawing our minds and our hearts toward God.  Also, proclaiming that we are being summoned to “run to meet him (Christ) as we we offer him our joyful worship”. This worship isn’t just Mass but the worship of our lives of prayer and offering our very selves to Christ from day to day as an act of worship.

~ Additional ideas that come to mind: 1) using music in ones opening prayer.  2) For elementary age students skits could be a possibility or a reenactment of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.  3) Reflection:  Asking the students to reflect if we are walking or running to meet Christ (makes me think of the Father who ran out to meet his prodigal son).  Our worship should be joyful even if that joy is experienced more from our attitude than what we see around us at Mass (Palm Sunday Mass tends to be more somber when remembering the event than joyful (especially since we know this is the beginning of his Passion).

 

Consider teaching by using text from either the Liturgy of the Mass or the Liturgy of the Hours.  There is great depth to draw from and to expound upon.

How have you used texts from the Mass or the Liturgy of the Hours to pass on the faith?


As we journey through Lent consider reflecting on these questions:

1.  When I wake up on Easter Sunday morning, how will I be different?
2.  Is there a habit or sin in my life that repeatedly gets in the way of loving God with my whole heart or loving my neighbor as myself? How do I address that habit?
3.  Is there anyone in my life from whom I need to ask forgiveness or pursue reconciliation?
4.  What practical steps am I taking to carve out time for daily prayer?
5.  What spiritual discipline can I continue to improve upon?
6.  What are some things in my life that I tell myself I need but I don’t? Can I give one or two of them up (at least for the remainder of Lent)?
7.  How is what I’m doing this Lent helping me draw closer to Christ?
8.  What can I tell myself even when it’s hard to deny myself?
9. What 2 virtue do I want to focus on this Lent (e.g., patience, charity, kindness, gentleness, temperance, etc.)

 

This was first posted on amazingcatechists.com on March 6.


In previous posts I’ve shared about how we have a summer program where kids in 1st, 3rd – 6th grade attend for two weeks in July and therefore not attend during the year.  However they are required to attend 4 enrichment sessions during the year.  We recently had our 3rd enrichment session and since Lent had just begun we focused on Lent.  We are always trying to find creative ways to present an aspect of our Faith to this large group of about 200 kids and parents.  Here is what we did:

~ We created a game show called the “40 day Lenten Challenge” where three 6th graders were contestants for the 40 day lenten challenge show.  I’ve attached the Lenten Enrichment Skit for you to check out and get the gist of what they did.

~ The contestants came out 3 times.  After the first time we gave parents and kids a few questions to answer (listed in script).

~ Then I had kids come up and share what they came up with at their tables.

~ The contestants came out again (see script).

~ Then we showed a video called “21st time” to show how we need to look beyond ourselves this Lent.

~ Next we had kids talk with their parents on various ways they could practice Lent this year.  We gave them a sheet of paper that said what can I “cut out” and what can I “do for Jesus” this Lent.  Some kids came up and shared their answers.

~ The contestants came out one final time where they were not trying to compete but came to realize that they could help each other grow and that we are all winners.

~ We closed with a slide show video of Jesus in the dessert and how He did this because He cares for us so much.

We felt this was a great way to get students and parents focused on Lent.  I call this kind of programming one way to implement the New Evangelization because we are bringing parents and kids together to grow in their faith in a fresh and creative way.

What do you do in your Religious Education Program that aims to make the New Evangelization concrete?


In our culture the term penance is very uncomfortable to so many.  For others it’s downright wrong to deny yourself things in a world that fosters freedom of speech, desires, expression, etc, etc.  As followers of Christ how can we consider what I’d like to call “a daily dose of penance” in order to conform our lives more to Christ.  By taking up our cross we will rise and live in the life Christ has for us. Taking up our Cross is not always intense or filled with hardship, but it is something that we are called to do in order to emulate Christ’s suffering and death on the cross – all because of love.  Our small penances draw us into that love of God.  Consider the following 5 ways you could practice a “daily dose of penance” as we begin Lent:

1. Eat one less cookie for dessert, drink one less cup of coffee or soda during the day.

2. Turn off the TV or internet and take 5-10 minutes to pray.

3. Hold your tongue…instead of speaking and explaining yourself because you want to make sure you are understood, just let go and move forward.

3. Pray for someone who annoys you.

4. When tempted to criticize or make a judgment on someone find a way to verbally compliment them instead.

5. Do something beyond what is expected at home or at work instead of what you really want to be doing.

Also, consider giving students in your classes ideas of how to practice small penances which will help them grow in their relationship with God this Lent.  Giving up things is good, but only if it actually leads us closer to Jesus and helps us love Him and our neighbor more in response.

What would you suggest as a good “daily dose”?


I pray your Lent has begun well!  Here are some good suggestions from Fr. Barron about what to consider during Lent.  Below the video clip I’ve included a few more ideas.

  • Make a paper chain for the 40 days of lent.  Write things to do on each paper such as pray the rosary, smile at everyone, do something for someone that they did not ask you to do. Open one each day and follow through on that action.
  • Create a Good Deeds Jar – Put 40 tasks/ideas in a jar and have kids take one at the beginning of each day.  Examples Read a story from the Bible, sleep with no pillow and pray for the homeless, go to confession, give someone at school your dessert as an act of kindness, do someone else’s chore today.
  • Make a Lenten cross out of wood or dough with 6 holes for candles for each of the 6 weeks for Lent like the Advent wreath 5 purple candles and a rose one in the center to be lit the fourth week
  • Make a Lenten calendar with things to do each day or write in what you did as you go along.
  • Lenten Sacrifice Beans – Dye Lima beans purple and put one in a jar to record each Lenten sacrifice
  • Give something up for Lent. You can choose to avoid sweets, stop listening to your favorite music, give up lengthy showers or some other pleasure in favor of self-mortification. Unite yourself with Jesus’ sufferings on the cross during your Lenten sacrifices.
  • Grow in virtue as you observe lent as a Catholic. Decide to work on one virtue, such as charity, chastity or honesty, as part of your Lenten journey.
  • Observe the Church’s rules for fasting and abstaining from meat during Lent. The Church requires that you abstain from meat on all Fridays in lent, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Traditional Catholics may also abstain from meat on Saturdays as per the older traditions. Ash Wednesday and Good Fridays are both days of fasting during Lent.
  • Attend Mass each Sunday and as often as possible during the week while observing Catholic Lenten practices.
    • Make a humble meal (basic soup and bread) once a week and donate the money you would have spent on meat and dessert to the poor box at your Catholic church.
    • Spend time with Jesus in the Adoration Chapel
    • As a family go to the Stations of the Cross
    • Only Listen to Catholic Radio or K-Love 97.3 FM
    • Read Scripture daily
    • Find a Catholic book to read or website and learn more about your faith
    • Sign up for a daily devotional to be sent such as www.dynamiccatholic.com

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