Lent with the Saints, Part 3: Giving Alms with St. Katharine Drexel

This is the last of three articles on the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Whenever I talk about the three pillars of Lent—prayer, fasting, and almsgiving—the conversation I have with young people about alms usually goes something like this: “What are alms?” one youth will ask. “Are those the things we get on the Sunday before Easter?” “No,” I’ll correct gently, “those are palms.” “I know,” another will say, “it’s a book in […]

Ash Wednesday and Lent: Holiness is a Habit

Welcome to Lent…a time to rid ourselves of habits that are doing little good or even causing harm to ourselves and others and to replace them with habits that are life-giving. Unfortunately, old habits die hard. And contrary to the popular notion that habits can be changed in 21 days, experts tell us that it can take up to a year to change old habits and develop new ones. Lent is 40 days for a reason: holiness is […]

Lent: A 40-Day Retreat/Learning to Throw a Change-up

The beginning of Lent often coincides with the beginning of spring training and the reporting of pitchers and catchers, so I can’t help but dip into my bag of sports metaphors to talk about Lent. Lent is nothing more than a 40-day retreat and a retreat is basically an opportunity to step back from ordinary activities to connect with God in a special way. It’s the spiritual equivalent of throwing a change-up. For those of […]

40 Ideas for 40 Days – Lenten Activities: Salt Dough Crown of Thorns

Today’s activity – a Salt Dough Crown of Thorns – can be found in many places on the Internet, I am drawing from a  couple of Web sites: Ten Kids and a Dog and Three Sided Wheel (which has an excellent tutorial) Basically, you make a salt dough and then roll out the dough into 3 long rolls/ropes. Next, you braid the rolls/ropes and shape it into a circle. Add toothpicks (loosely) to represent the thorns, asking forgiveness […]

A Guided Reflection on Praying, Fasting, and Almsgiving

Tonight, we begin in church with a Lenten prayer service that should be about 30 minutes. With all the coming and going between the church and school buildings, I should have about 35 minutes left with my kids. Since I haven’t been able to do a guided reflection with them for a few weeks, I thought I would go right into that when we get back to the classroom. Here’s the script that I put […]

Get Back…Before it’s Too Late!

Back in 1970, the Beatles issued one of their last hits: Get Back. The song represented the Beatles’ efforts to get back to their rock and roll roots (“Get back. Get back. Get back to where you once belonged”). They had spent the last few years in the studio crafting some incredible music (Sgt. Pepper, in particular) that saw them venturing into complex arrangements and layers of sounds. With the group now experiencing tension and […]

A Lenten Poll

Now that we are into our second full week of Lent, I thought it would be good to pause and take stock of our efforts to practice the Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Take a moment to complete the poll below and, remember, you’re welcome to send me a confidential email once per week to let me know in more detail how you are doing with your Lenten practices and I’ll respond personally. […]

Snow? Stay Home, Stay Warm and Do a WEBINAR!

Sounds like a good chunk of the country is in for some nasty weather Tuesday evening (Feb. 9). Why not stay home, stay warm and dry, and participate in my Lenten Webinar? 🙂 Facilitator: Joe Paprocki, DMin Brought to you by Loyola Press, A Jesuit Ministry Tuesday, February 9, 2010 7:15 – 8:00 pm (CST) We sometimes make Lent too complicated when, in reality, it calls us to do only three things: pray, fast, and […]

40/40 – Lenten Activities: A Lenten Practices Jar

This Lenten activity is an opportunity for catechists to help young people focus on concrete, practical examples of practicing the Lenten disciplines. A Lenten Practices Jar Sometimes, kids need help in coming up with concrete suggestions for practicing the Lenten disciplines. They also need reminders! A Lenten Practices Jar is a way to do just this: provide suggestions and remind young people to practice the Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting, and giving alms. Find a […]