40 Ideas for 40 Days – Lenten Activities: A Group Fast

As a way of helping catechists bring Lent to life for their learners, I am sharing 40 Lenten activities in 40 days. Here’s your next activity…


A Group Fast

  • Have a volunteer read aloud Mark 1:12-13 (Jesus in the Wilderness).
  • Point out that during Jesus’ 40 days in the desert he fasted and prayed.
  • Talk about what it means to fast: to do without food.
  • Explain that, during Lent, Catholics practice fasting in order to remind ourselves that our deepest hunger is for God and to practice solidarity with those who have less.
  • As a group, brainstorm a list of favorite snacks and write them on the board.
  • Ask the young people to identify snacks that are healthy and circle them.
  • Distribute and index card to each child and invite each one to jot down the names of three or four uncircled snacks that they will promise not to eat during Lent.
  • As a group, agree on a time during the week when you will all fast from any food (for example, Wednesday evenings from 6 to 9 P.M.
  • Explain that such a group fast is a way experiencing community.
  • If possible, arrange for the children to view this Internet video: Prayer and Fasting for Kids – “a lighthearted, fast-paced short video (narrated by kids for kids) that encourages children to fast and pray for other nations.)
  • If this is not possible, view the video yourself to find ideas to help explain prayer and fasting to your students.
  • For your own enrichment, read Pope Benedict XVI’s recent thoughts on fasting.

40 Ideas for 40 Days
Download the PDF version of this activity.

40 Ideas for 40 Days
Check out all of the activities for Lent.
About Joe Paprocki 2748 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

6 Comments on 40 Ideas for 40 Days – Lenten Activities: A Group Fast

  1. Loved the Prayer and fasting video……..but were you aware there is sort of a “questionable” advertisement that comes on first?? There is a girl who looks like she is taking off her top jumping out of a helicopter !! I wanted to show this to my students but I am not sure how I would block that? Is there a way to block that or do these advertisements just pop up??

      • Clare, I clicked on the video and saw an advertisement that came up first but it was clearly not the one you saw…it was harmless. I suspect the ads change. If you show it to your class, you can always cover the lens on the LCD projector until the commercial is over (as you view it on your laptop). -joe

        • Hi Joe,

          Thank you so much for getting back to me. I guess it’s just a little disturbing that something like what I saw could pop up on something Loyola had recommended, so I thought it was important to let you know that it was out there. I will use your suggestion to cover the screen in case another odd “infomercial” pops up.



          • Quite right, Clare. Unfortunately, I have no control over the commercials attached to this particular site which is not a Loyola Press video.

  2. Still-the video is a hit….keep ’em coming ! This is how kids learn these days (videos, etc.) and yours (particularly some that appeared on “Youtube”) have been great.

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