Why Do We Observe Lent?

Lent is one of my favorite times of the year. It forces me to slow down and focus more intently on Jesus for 40 days. But when teaching fourth graders, slowing down is not the optimal way to communicate the importance of Lent. While I was talking to my class about Lent, I was surprised by the number of students who confused Lent and Advent. Too many didn’t understand much of Lent beyond giving up […]

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 […]

Lent as a Catechetical Leader

Our annual Lenten journey has begun. I don’t know about you, but it seems like I always start this penitential season really well, but then quickly fall into the same old busy-ness of parish life. In fact, for most catechetical leaders, Lent is our busiest time of the year. How do we counter that? First and foremost, we have to make a commitment to prayerfully focus on what the season means. It’s a time to […]

Lent with the Saints, Part 2: Fasting with St. Vincent Ferrer

This is the second of three articles on the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Lent is a season in which we respond to the Lord’s call to “return to me with all your heart, / with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” (Joel 2:12) As I remind young people of the requirements for Lent, I usually share this passage with them to remind them that this obligation is nothing more than responding to […]

Lent with the Saints, Part 1: Praying with St. Patrick

In the first of three articles on the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, we learn from St. Patrick how to make Lent a special season of prayer. In the weeks leading up to Lent, I am reminded to tell the young people in my class about Lent. I have to tell them when Ash Wednesday services at my parish are. I am required to inform them of the Lenten regulations. I need to […]

The Vocabulary of Lent

As we look to observe Lent with our students, I am thinking about the language of Lent and how to ensure that my seventh-graders know the Church’s vocabulary related to the season. I shared a post on the Vocabulary of Christmas two months ago, and many of the techniques for helping children understand key terms could apply here as well. But one of the advantages of Lent, from a catechetical perspective, is that it is […]

The Four Keys to Lent

Lent is just around the corner and preparing others to enter into the spirit of this season means that we often neglect our own Lenten journey. We rush into Ash Wednesday with some ideas for Lenten resolutions (similar to last year’s practices and the ones before that) and find ourselves busier than ever. Easter comes with a flurry of activity, often leaving us feeling more tired than ever. Instead of feeling uplifted and renewed, we […]

Looking Ahead to Lent

We’ve got Lent coming up soon, so that means it’s a great time to revitalize both yourself and your approach to your catechetical program. Using the Lenten practices of almsgiving, fasting, and prayer, explore how you can keep up your energy and effort as we continue winter sessions. Almsgiving Any practicing Catholic has heard repeatedly about the importance of donating time, talent, and treasure to the Church. As you gear up for Lent, take a […]

Helping Families Celebrate Lent

The Lenten devotionals started arriving in my mailbox before Advent was over. We keep a box in the office. On one side it says “Lent/Easter,” on the other, “Advent/ Christmas.” The box fills quickly. Churchy people like me delight in the selection and struggle to make just the right choice for helping families celebrate Lent with this year’s meditation and prayer. We think everyone should be as excited about this season as we are. We […]

Lenten Actions Cards

Encourage families to take practical steps toward practicing the traditional Lenten pillars of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Print out our Lenten Actions Cards and give sets to the families you serve. Instruct parents to cut out the cards, fold them in half, and place them in a jar or small box. Place the jar or other container in a central location in the home, perhaps on the dining room table or the counter next to […]

1 2