Lent: So What’s Up with the Number 40?

“These forty days of Lent, O Lord, to you we fast and pray…”  We all know that Lent has 40 days, but it may cause us to wonder about the significance of the number 40. Did you know that the number 40 appears in the Bible nearly 200 times? What’s up with that? In the Bible, the number 40 is symbolic and represents a significant period of time during which an individual’s faith is tested. What is […]

Hooking Your Students: An Idea for Lent

I’m a firm believer in doing short transitional activities (three to five minutes) in religious education that engage the students and act as segues into the “meat” of the lesson. They act as attention-getters or “hooks” that make a connection for the students. Here’s an example of one such activity that can be used to introduce the season of Lent. Select four or five students, and hand each of them some paper plates, paper cups, and plasticware (or […]

Are You Ready for Lent?

What an odd occurrence this year that Ash Wednesday falls on Valentine’s Day and Easter falls on April Fools’ Day! Of course, Valentine’s Day/Ash Wednesday is right around the corner: February 14. Lent invites us to turn our minds and hearts back to the God of mercy. Discover inspiring ways to observe the season in your faith formation setting with these ideas. For Helping Children and Their Families Liturgical Year: Lent Bookmark this link for a full […]

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 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 […]

New Projects for Lent

This is my 13th year of teaching Lent to third graders, and I’m in need of some fresh new projects and activities for my students. While I will still use my usual activities—they will still be new to this group of third graders—I have realized that adding new activities and projects helps keep me engaged and challenged. This year I will include my usual Ash Wednesday video that shows photos of our foreheads after receiving […]

Five Ways to Follow Jesus During Lent

During Lent, we fast from many things liturgically: there is no Gloria or Alleluia during Mass, and the worship space is empty of flowers. The music is simpler too. Gone is the joyful praise that we engage in most other times of the year. These absences are a backdrop that reveals the growing intensity of the narrative of Jesus, who is entering the final stages of his earthly ministry. Lent is a serious time of preparation for […]

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 […]

Teaching Second-Graders the Beauty of Lent

The beauty of Lent offers a time for the Church to relive salvation history. By practicing the penitential disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, many adults savor this transformative season. But how does an untrained teacher who meets only briefly with her wiggly second-grade faith formation class communicate the beauty and relevancy of Lent in language they can understand? The short answer: by acting out Christ’s desert experience in a way that highlights how fasting, […]

More than a Sacrifice: Making Lent Count

“So, what are you giving up for Lent?” This is a common question among Catholics, young and old alike. But Lent is about more than giving something up. Through the disciplines of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, Lent prepares us for Easter. Yet when young people focus on what they give up for Lent, this season may have no lasting impact on them. How can we help them see what Lent is really about? How can […]

1 2 3 6