A Lenten Idea from Anna Marie

stories from the field

Here’s a nice Lenten idea shared by a catechist named Anna Marie. Thanks, Anna Marie!

Here’s a Lenten idea that I have done in 7th-10th graders. The last day before we depart for Spring/Easter Break or during Holy Week, I create the classroom as a Retreat/Desert experience. Shades are pulled down, lights are dimmed if possible, and the window of the classroom door is covered. There is a sign placed outside the door:  Do Not Disturb, Retreat in progress. There is quiet music playing in the background. On a table are books for reflection, Bibles marked with the Passion of Christ, Stations of the Cross booklets, and students have their Prayer Journals to respond to reflection questions or just talk with Jesus. There is also a sheet that is given as each student walks into the room that has steps to follow and suggestions on how to make the class time meaningful. They can sit or lay anywhere provided they are not touching anyone nor disturb anyone. Students have found this quiet time a wonderful experience and ask to do it again.

Some have said, mostly on the high school level, this is first time they have ever had quiet time to themselves. We all know that some students don’t look at it as a Reflection Time, but you would be amazed at how many do the readings and pray quietly. Our classes are 45 minutes. When done on the high school level, we had a Chapel in the school, so we went there and our classes were 80 minutes. It was a shock when I told them it was time to go that they didn’t want to leave. They couldn’t believe how fast the time went.

Anna Marie

Caveat from Joe: keeping in mind guideliness for safe environment, you might want to reconsider covering the windows on the doors, or if you do so, be sure that more than one adult is present in the room.

About Joe Paprocki 2742 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.


  1. looking for meditations (8 – 12 minutes) for middle schoolers. They love mediatating but I have a shallow bag of “tricks”.

  2. Wow ! what a excellent , inexpensive mini retreat for young adults.
    I teach 2nd grade and I know my kids are too young for what you described, but it sounds wonderful . Perhaps I will think of some way to incorporate some of the ideas mentioned. Good luck and thanks for sharing .
    ~ Peace

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