The season of Lent is the time in which we prepare ourselves for the Church's greatest celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ on Easter. The season lasts for 40 days. It is a time in which we work on growing closer to Christ through prayer, fasting and penance. It is also a time in which we recall our own Baptism by which we were joined to Jesus and first received a share in God's life called grace, which we receive every time we celebrate the Eucharist and the other sacraments. We also pray for all those who will be welcomed into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil through their celebration of Baptism.
The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday (February 14th). On Ash Wednesday, during Mass, we are marked with a cross of blessed ashes as a reminder that Jesus suffered and died out of His love for each one of us and to save us from our sins. The cross of ashes is also a sign that we are sorry for our sins and want to follow Jesus.
During Lent, we are especially invited to celebrate the forgiveness of God through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and be strengthened by God's love, mercy, and peace. In celebrating Reconciliation, we answer Christ's call proclaimed to us when we received the ashes on Ash Wednesday: "Repent, and believe in the Gospel."
As part of the Lenten season, Catholics are called to perform acts of charity and to make sacrifices throughout the 40-day journey. Catholics ages 18 to 59 are called to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday by only eating one regular meal and two lesser meals with no eating between. Catholics ages 14 and up are called to abstain on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays in Lent by not eating meat. Catholics are also called to make other sacrifices if they are unable to engage in fasting and abstinence. (Click here to see the official liturgical rules from the Archdiocese of Miami.)
May the season of Lent be a time in which our prayer, penance, and good works take on special meaning in preparing our hearts to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ.
Find below some articles and resources to help you and your family celebrate Lent and prepare for the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ on Easter.
See below for some great Lenten resources you can use with your family.
Pope Francis' message for Lent:
**Your Guide to a Catholic Lent - OSV
This article from Our Sunday Visitor offers some great ideas and resources in which we can make the most of our celebration of the Lenten season. It includes some simple explanations of Lenten concepts, suggestions for prayer and reflection, and many other Lenten resources.
**How to Make a Good Confession - OSV
During the season of Lent, we are especially called and invited to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Through this powerful sacrament, we prepare our hearts for Christ by receiving forgiveness of our sins and being strengthened by His love, mercy, and peace. This article from OSV guides us on how we can make a good confession now and always.
**Lent - (USCCB)
This article from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops offers a special message to reflect on during Lent. On the right side of the linked page, you can additional great resources and articles for Lent.
*Lent Q & A (USCCB)
This article from the USCCB offers some answers to commonly asked questions regarding Catholic practices and regulations that we are asked to observe during Lent.
Making the Most of Lent (OSV)
During Lent, we are invited to make changes to ourselves in order to unite more closely with Christ. This article from OSV offers some things we can do, in addition to the above, that can help the entire family get more from the Lenten season.
Fasting and Abstinence (OSV)
During Lent, two of the sacrifices we make is fasting and abstinence. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fasting, and all Fridays in Lent are days of abstinence from meat. This article from OSV offers some background information on these Lenten practices.
Ideas for Celebrating Lent and Easter at Home (OSV)
This article from OSV offers some ways we can celebrate Lent and Easter in the domestic church, in our homes with our families.
LENTEN RESOURCES AND LINKS
**Lenten Calendar (Loyola Press)
This Lenten Calendar from Loyola Press offers an activity of prayer, fasting, or almsgiving for each day of Lent that can be done together as a family.
**Stations of the Cross Prayer Card (Sadlier)
Pray the Stations of the Cross with your families using this prayer card from Sadlier. Follow in Christ's footsteps with this handout that contains background and reflections for each station.
**Lent and Easter: EWTN
The EWTN Lent and Easter page contains many different resources to help us get the most of the Lenten season and Holy Week. Their site includes daily reflections for each day in the Lenten season
**Lent Calendar (USCCB)
Download this calendar from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops containing daily spiritual suggestions and words of wisdom from Pope Francis and the saints.
*Lenten Family Guide (OSV)
Taken from the Our Sunday Visitor article, "Your Guide to a Catholic Lent," this Lenten Family Guide download offers some great activities and resources you can use with your families to help everyone celebrate the Lenten season.
*Guide to Lent (OSV)
This download from OSV offers reflections and prayers we can use for each week of Lent, along with themes to celebrate each week.
*The KISS Principle for Lent (OSV)
This download from OSV provides a useful acronym we can use in our Lenten celebrations: Keep It Simple, Sinner. If offers some simple things we can do by using the 1-1-1 plan.
A Guide to Holy Week (OSV)
This download from OSV provides some suggestions and things we can do in preparing to celebrate Holy Week and the Easter Triduum: the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ.