40 Ideas for 40 Days: A Declaration of DEpendence

Lent is a time for us to declare our independence from sins that have been impinging on our freedom and to declare our DEpendence on God! Prepare your own “parchment” to use as a Declaration of DEpendence. Here is a picture of one I prepared next to a replica of the real thing.

  •  Any sheet of white newsprint will do. The thinner the paper, the better. I like to use a sheet from an easel pad (27 x 34)…nice and thin.
  • Roll up the paper and then slightly burn the edges (or if you don’t want to use a flame, just tear the edges). When you unroll it, you’ll have these wonderful jagged edges.
  • Next, crumple the paper up very tightly into a ball and then flatten it out. Lots of nice wrinkles!
  • To create the “aged” look (yellowish/brownish), pour coffee or tea over it (of course, place the paper in a large pan to collect the run-off).
  • While the paper is wet, take some instant coffee and sprinkle it lightly around the document. Let it sit for a while (so it begins to dissolve) and then take a sponge or a cloth and wipe/spread it around.
  • if you’re in a hurry, you can blow-dry the document. Otherwise, just hang it from a clothes line (be gentle…it can easily rip when wet).
  • once it is dry, you can add your lettering
  • If you or someone you know can do calligraphy, all the better. Otherwise, just use some fancy handwriting to state something similar to the following: “We, the (e.g. 6th graders) of                               Parish, city, state, in order to practice a more perfect Lent, do hereby declare our independence from the power of sin and our complete DEpendence on the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with our heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen!”
  • Invite participants to come forward prayerfully and to sign their names as you play a recording of a song about forgiveness in the background.
  • This action can be a part of a Lenten Penance and Reconciliation communal prayer service.
About Joe Paprocki 2741 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.

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