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.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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

Almsgiving during Lent is what I believe to be the most challenging of the three primary spiritual practices in Lent (prayer, fasting and almsgiving) in the Third Millennium, because everyone is so busy in today’s world.  We barely have enough time to sit down and just be with our family and friends let alone going out to do some service project or serving our neighbor.  Although Lent is winding down, there is still time for “acts of service” to others.  It may be checking in on an elderly neighbor to see if they need anything, it may be to see if you can lend a helping hand for 20 to 30 minutes to a co-worker (even though you don’t feel like you really have the time), or it may be going out of your way to assist a family member with the little things.  Tending to the needs of others and seeking to serve them allows us to forget about ourselves and what is going on in our lives and care about the lives of those around us.  Try to take the time remaining this Lent and perform acts of service.

“An effective but often neglected means of gaining Paradise is almsgiving. By almsgiving I mean any work of mercy exercised toward one’s neighbor for the love of God.”   ~ St. John Bosco


Recently the diocesan newspaper had an article that talked about “spicing up” your fish during lent in order to not have to eat the “same old” on Fridays.  That’s funny, I thought a little more bland and same old is what is encouraged during the Lenten Season.  Isn’t less more during these 40 days?   The opportunities to spiritually grow during Lent are truly endless, however, many don’t like to “go without” or change what they are use to whether it’s what (and how much) they eat from day to day or the amount of time spent on the internet at night or even watching TV.

Take the opportunity this Season of Lent, if you have not already, to change up the way you do things.  I find that doing things like not eating between meals, going without the usual dessert or not watching TV all help me to better reflect, see more clearly, and become more aware of sin in my life.  Having and doing less produces more spiritual awareness and insights to my walk with Christ.  Christ wants more for us – but it takes risk and a willingness to go outside of our comfort zones.  Less of me and my wants = more of Christ.


This popular devotion has more to it then meets the eye.

To learn more about the history of the Stations go to this website called Devotions & Prayers or go to a great article by Fr. William Saunders called How did the Stations of the Cross Begin?

This devotion is not only accessible for Catholics almost everywhere in the United States, but it is also a great devotion for kids because they are able to visualize the images of the passion of Jesus.  What a great way to help them meditate on some of the most important moments in Salvation History.

Many saints have written about the benefit of praying the Stations of the Cross and taking time to walk and meditate upon “the way of the Cross” or “via crucis”.  Here are a few examples:

The way of the Cross is the road which leads to Paradise; it is the sure way to holiness. The Passion of Christ is the greatest and most stupendous work of Divine Love.  — St. Paul of the Cross

My Lord Jesus Christ, you have made this journey to die for me with love unutterable, and I have so many times unworthily abandoned you; but now I love you with my whole heart, and because I love you, I repent sincerely for ever having offended you. Pardon me, my God, and permit me to accompany you on this journey. you go to die for love of me; I wish also, my beloved Redeemer, to die for love of you. My Jesus, I will live and die always united to you.

— St. Alphonsus Liguori wrote this preparatory prayer for the Stations of    the Cross which he wrote.

O most merciful Jesus, with a contrite heart and penitent spirit, I bow downin profound humility before Thy divine majesty. I adore Thee as my supreme Lord and Master; I believe in Thee, I hope in Thee, I love Thee above all things. I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, my Supreme and Only Good. I resolve to amend my life, and although I am unworthy to obtain mercy, yet the sight of Thy holy cross, on which Thou didst die, inspires me with hope and consolation. I will, therefore, meditate on Thy sufferings, and visit the stations of Thy Passion in company with Thy sorrowful Mother and my guardian angel, with the intention of promoting Thy honor and saving my soul.

I desire to gain all the indulgences granted for this holy exercise for myself and for the Poor Souls in Purgatory. O merciful Redeemer, who has said, “And I, if I be lifted from earth, will draw all things to Myself,” draw my heart and my love to Thee, that I may perform this devotion as perfectly as possible, and that I may live and die in union with Thee. Amen.

— St. Francis of Assisi’s preparation prayer of the Stations of the cross that he wrote.

Here are a few excerpts from the Directory on Popular Piety, approved by Pope John Paul II in 2001.

133. The Via Crucis is a journey made in the Holy Spirit, that divine fire which burned in the heart of Jesus (cf. Lk 12:49-50) and brought Him to Calvary. This is a journey well esteemed by the Church since it has retained a living memory of the words and gestures of the final earthly days of her Spouse and Lord.

In the Via Crucis, various strands of Christian piety coalesce: the idea of life being a journey or pilgrimage; as a passage from earthly exile to our true home in Heaven; the deep desire to be conformed to the Passion of Christ; the demands of following Christ, which imply that His disciples must follow behind the Master, daily carrying their own crosses (cf Lk 9, 23).

The Via Crucis is a particularly apt pious exercise for Lent.

Consider participating in this devotion which draws those who participate into greater union with Christ.

How have you, your family and your parish found fruit and benefit in participating in this devotion?


Does anyone remember the days when the Catholic response to someone complaining or speaking of their suffering was “Offer it up”?  Even though it is not a common response anymore, it is a good reminder that we can unite our lives with Christs’ through our daily sacrifices and daily struggles (big and small).  Catholic Icing posted a great idea about making an offering box (that’s where I got the picture).  Kids love to make little sacrifices for Jesus.  Teaching them about offering up little things for Jesus is a great way to help keep lent a part of what they are doing throughout their day.  Jesus offered up His whole life and we can teach kids to find small ways to offer up their desire for various things (sweets, snacks, pop/juice, going without TV, video games or Wii).  Also, teaching them to offer up their loving acts/deeds to Jesus (cleaning up their room or the kitchen without being asked or collecting money for those less in need).  They learn that all this can be a way to unite their lives with Jesus’ life.