Navigate Up
Sign In
schools stalbert stalbert 610E057F-237B-4185-A19C-0F0FDCF73C3F 5763
/schools/Style Library/ci_upload/e204f6d7-7101-4d14-bd86-c027d121e04dn.png?rev=-1227135960

Toronto Catholic District School Board

 

 

LENT
 
Here is some information you can use for the Season of Lent ... 
 
One simple way for children to observe lent is to use this simple Calendar composed by catechist, Joe Paprocki.  Each day the children choose a small act - a prayer, kind action, sacrifice.  They colour in a cross for that day, indicating by the colour they choose the kind of action that they did.  The observance is simple enough for a four year old to do but still meaningful for older children as well.  For those of you who are enrolled in the First Eucharist programme, this is a great link with the conversation that we had about “taking up your cross.”
 
The link to the printable calendar can be found at:

 

 

 
The three main practices in which Catholics engage during lent are fasting, giving and praying .. Taken from YouTube
 
Fasting:  Fasting is a bit out of fashion these days, but in a world of instant gratification and less-than-instant gratitude, I think it is a very important tool we can use as Christians and as parents.   I really believe we help our children by teaching them the value of sacrifice.  When we wait for something, we learn to be grateful for it in a way that we just don't do if we get what we want instantly.  When we tie our fasting to a sense of solidarity with the poor and remind ourselves how extremely fortunate we are, we can also develop a sense of compassion. 
 
Fasting is also a discipline which the church encourages so that we might become aware of our need for God.  How?  Well, each time that we "long" for that which we have decided to deny ourselves, we are to consciously think, "Do I long for God this much?"  Spiritual hunger is not always as evident to us as physical hunger.  Fasting can help us remember this. 
 
More ideas for fasting …  It is common to give up a special treat during lent… and it seems that chocolate is one of the most common of these.  If chocolate is your “fast of choice”, try adding this to your discipline.  Do some research into the cocoa industry and the production of chocolate.  Find out why there is a need to have Fair Trade chocolate.
 
Each time that you "hunger" for that item which you have given up (be it candy or video games), think of those who live in poverty every day and do not have the luxury of giving up things.  This accomplishes two things:  it makes us more compassionate and empathetic and hopefully leads us to act on behalf of the poor AND it helps us become more grateful for what we do have and thus happier people.  I haven't read it but I love the title of this book:  A Place at the Table - 40 Days of Solidarity with the Poor. 
 
 
Almsgiving:  Another important Lenten practice is to become more generous to those in need.  That is the reason that the Archdiocese has it’s Sharelife fundraiser each year during this season.
 
More ideas for almsgiving ….
 
As well as giving to the needy, we try to "give" in the sense of taking on a positive practice.  One day while listening to my children's fairly harsh (but also fairly typical) criticism of one another, I came up with an idea to help them watch and comment on one another's positive actions.  I had each child write down a secret behaviour modification that they would take up for lent (e.g. tell the truth, be patient, not irritate people, etc.).  Then for the 40 days of lent, the other kids and we parents would have to try to observe their behaviour and guess what they were working on.  This worked so brilliantly that we've kept the tradition up ever since
 
Prayer:  We've never managed to pull off family lenten prayer with the same success as we were able to do the Jesse Tree devotions in Advent.  This year, our plan is to read a short story about a saint each night after supper.  This came at the suggestion of our son when he as 10.  He wanted to bargain permission to watch his one favourite show each week during lent.
 
 

 

There are a number of  items on the Holy Days - Lent board on Pinterest which you can access at:
 

 
While you’re there you might also check out Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday and Holy Week boards.
 

     Busted Halo has some great stuff for adults and teens.  Watch their Ash Wednesday and Lent in 2 minutes:http://bustedhalo.com/video/ash-wednesday-in-two-minutes  They also have an excellent Lenten calendar which you can follow.

 

   For a free Lenten programme that you can download for children (Grades 1-6): www.holyheroes.com/Holy-Heroes-Lenten-Adventure-s/37.htm.

 

   For teens and adults... a great and very short video from Liguori on why we Fast during Lent.  I am SO Hungry -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGnpk37nVjc

 

   For the adults in the family who love poetry - 50 poems for Lent and Easter: http://www.journeywithjesus.net/PoemsAndPrayers/Poetry_For_Lent_And_Easter.shtml

 

   For a wealth of Lenten family ideas check out this link to the blog Sacraparental – Social Justice and Spirituality for Parents and Kids:  http://sacraparental.com/2015/01/16/lent-everything-you-need-all-in-one-place​