- Lent is spiritual preparation for the celebration of Easter. Both catechumens (those preparing for Baptism) and the faithful prepare for the celebration of the Paschal Mystery at Easter.
- Lent begins on Ash Wednesday continuing until the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday. (For the exact date for this year, please see Liturgical Dates).
- The practices of Lent involve prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
- Lent originated in the first three centuries A.D. and, over the centuries, developed from a one or two day observance to forty days (recalling the 40 day fasts of Christ, Matthew 4:2; Moses, Exodus 34:28; and Elijah, 1 Kings 19:8).
- During the Season of Lent, the Church urges all the faithful to reflect a spirit of penance in their daily life through performing acts of fast and abstinence.
Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fast and abstinence. Fridays in Lent are days of abstinence.
Stations of the Cross
What is fasting?
Fasting requires that only one full meal be taken per day. Two other smaller meals may be taken during the day to maintain physical strength, but these two meals together should not equal a full meal in quantity. Fasting obliges all those who have reached the age of 18 and continues to oblige until age 59. Those not specifically obliged to fast are encouraged to join in the discipline of fasting to the extent that they are able.
What is abstinence?
Abstinence prohibits individuals from eating meat on a particular day. Abstinence obliges all those who have reached the age of 14 and continues to oblige throughout their entire life. Those not specifically obliged to abstain from eating meat are encouraged to join in this discipline to the extent that they are able.
Lenten Practices, Ideas and Suggestions
- Lenten resources and ideas for Ignatian prayer and spiritual practices from Loyola Press.
- Lenten Resources from the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.
- Lenten Podcasts: audio and hardcopies from the Catholic Health Association.
- Living Lent Daily: from Loyola Press.
- Lent with Fr. Robert Barron: subcribe for a daily reflection.
- My Life and the Stations of the Cross: an inforgraphic meditation on the stations of the cross based on the spirituality of St. Josemaria Escriva. (Click on the small image to enlarge)
- Questions and Answers About Lent and Lenten Practices: a handout from the USCCB.
- The Passion and Death of Jesus: scripture study by Fr. Felix Just, SJ.
- Operation Rice Bowl: from Catholic Relief Services.
- Lent 4.5: a seven-week faith formation program in Christian Simplicity.
- Soul-Nourishing Practices for Lent: handouts from Sadlier.
- Videos for Lent: links to videos that reflect a Lenten theme.
- 40 Ideas for 40 Days of Lent: from Joe Paprocki in his blog, Catechist's Journey: Sharing the Journey of teaching the Catholic Faith.
- 7 Ways to Practice Lent—Free eBook: explores seven ways to practice Lent by offering background on each tradition, an accompanying prayer, and activities for catechists to share the riches of Lenten practices with those they serve.
- Lenten Resources: from Loyola Press.
- Lent and Holy Week Resources: from RCL Benziger.
- Xt3 Lent Calendar 2017: an app which provide daily inspiration through videos, podcasts and reflections, as well as beautiful images all relating to the theme of mercy.
- Daily Inspiration for Your Lenten Journey Calendar: a printable calendar which focuses on reflecting God’s mercy in your daily life; from the USCCB. In Spanish too.
- Sadlier's Lenten Resources: downloadable resources including -- a Lenten Calendar, Act of Contrition Prayer Card, Stations of the Cross Prayer, Renew Your Baptism Activity, A Prayer for Lenten Spirit Prayer Card and What if I'm Asked about Lent? Faith Facts. In English and Spanish.
- Lenten Activities for the Classroom: a list of resources from The Religion Teacher.
- Follow a daily Lenten Calendar:
- Consider some of the works of mercy:
- Spend some more time praying:
- Fasting and abstinence: donate the money you saved by fasting or giving something up to a food pantry;
- Self-denial: use some of your time to volunteer (e.g. volunteer to help in your parish's Religious Education Program!)
- Good deeds and almsgiving: give to a charity; support a cause such as helping stop the death penalty.