Lent is a special time of prayer, penance, sacrifice and good works in preparation of the celebration of Easter. Since the earliest times of the Church, there is evidence of some kind of Lenten preparation for Easter. Although the practices may have evolved over the centuries, the focus remains the same: to repent of sin, to renew our faith and to prepare to celebrate joyfully the mysteries of our salvation. Moreover, an emphasis must be placed on performing spiritual works, like attending the Stations of the Cross, attending Mass, making a weekly holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament, taking time for personal prayer and spiritual reading and most especially making a good confession and receiving sacramental absolution.
Lenten Fast and Abstinence
Abstinence from meat is observed on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all the Fridays of Lent by all Catholics 14 years and older. Fasting is observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday by all Catholics who are 18 years of age but not yet 59. Those bound by this rule may take only one full meal. Two smaller meals are permitted as necessary to maintain strength according to one’s needs, but eating solid foods between meals is not permitted. From its earliest days, the Church has urged the baptized and catechumens to observe the threefold discipline of fasting, almsgiving and prayer as a preparation for the celebration of Easter. Failure to observe individual days of penance is not considered serious, but failure to observe any penitential days at all or a substantial number of such days must be considered serious.
Abstinence from meat is observed on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all the Fridays of Lent by all Catholics 14 years and older.Someone famous Source Title
Pope’s Lenten Message calls for conversion
Pope Francis is calling on the faithful not to let the Lenten season of grace pass in vain, and to live as children of God acknowledging and obeying His law, in particular in regards to our brothers and sisters and to creation.
In this year’s Lenten message, the Pope invites believers to prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery with mind and heart renewed, warning that “Sin leads man to consider himself the god of creation, to see himself as its absolute master and to use it, not for the purpose willed by the Creator but for his own interests”.
Click here to read Pope Francis's Lenten Message.
2019 Lenten Regulations for the Diocese of Santa Rosa
- Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fast and abstinence, that is, limited to a single, full meal and abstinence from meat.
- The other Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence from meat.
- The law of fasting permits only one full meal a day, but it does allow the taking of some food in the morning and a second light meal at noon or in the evening, as you prefer. Persons who have completed their eighteenth year to the beginning of their sixtieth (60) year are obligated to fast.
- The law of abstinence from meat applies to all persons who have completed their fourteenth year of age.
However, it is highly recommended that children from ages seven to fourteen years also follow the law of abstinence.
- All Catholics are encouraged to receive Holy Eucharist frequently during Lent and to receive the Sacrament of Penance so that all may be prepared to celebrate more fully the paschal mystery. Those who have received their first Holy Communion are to receive Holy Communion during the Easter season.
- The determination of these days of obligatory penance, as listed above, should not be understood as limiting the occasions for Christian penance. This penance is to help us see and shorten the distance between our present lives and the life God wants for each of us. “Penance should not be only internal and individual but external and social.” (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy #110)
- Marriages may be celebrated with Mass and the nuptial blessing should always be given. It is, however, contrary to the spirit of penance during Lent to plan an elaborate wedding with lavish decorations.
10 Resources for Lent
Lent means many things to many people. Whether you are seeking solemnity, renewal, or rejuvenation, the resources on this page offer inspiring insights for your observance of Lent.
- Ash Wednesday
- Living Lent Daily
- Arts & Faith: Lent
- Holy Week
- Perspectives on Lent
- Prayers & Retreats
- Seven Last Words
- Stations of the Cross
History of Lent
What are the origins of Lent? Did the Church always have this time before Easter? In his article, "History of Lent", Fr. William Saunders iis pastor of Our Lady of Hope Parish in Potomac Falls and former dean of the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College. Father has been writing his weekly "Straight Answers" column for the Arlington Catholic Herald since 1993. The above article is one of those "Straight Answers" columns. Father Saunders is the author of Straight Answers, Answers to 100 Questions about the Catholic Faith, a book based on 100 of his columns and published by Cathedral Press in Baltimore.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Lenten Resources
Lent offers us a time to prepare and reflect on the great Easter mystery, that "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son." Join Catholics around the world in this holy season, using the multitude of resources available through this site.
Lent offer us the opportunity to deepen our faith and explore new spiritual practices as we prepare for the great Christian feast of Easter. In a weekly Lenten blog and video series for Franciscan Media, Br. Casey Cole, OFM, will guide us through the season, tackling themes such as sacrifice, joy, humility, pleasure, and piety—all to help us gain a better understanding of Lent. Click on the links below for articles, a daily calendar, and other resources for your journey.
- The ‘Ups’ of Lent
- Saint Francis and the Cross of Christ
- The Hope of Lent
- Pie Day: A Lenten Tradition in Louisiana
- Frequently Asked Questions about Lent
- Lent and the Sacrament of Reconciliation
- How to Meditate During Lent
- Lent with Mother Teresa
- Living the Season of Lent: A Mom Reflects
- In the Belly of Lent: Jonah and Us
- Jesus, the Passion, and the Garden of Gethsemane
- Easter: The Resurrection Narratives
- Lenten Reflections with Friar Jim
Ignatian Spirituality: Lent
Lent is a season of repentance and renewal. We turn away from our sinfulness and recommit ourselves to following Jesus. Ignatian contemplation and reflective prayer encourage us in the season of Lent. Below we highlight Ignatian resources for Lent.
- Online Retreats and Prayers - 9 different areas to choose from
- Lenten Video Reflections - 4 videos to choose from
- Seasonal Articles - 11 articles to peruse.
The Catholic Guy on Lent
Watch a video from Bruce each Sunday and receive a reflection to read each day through Lent.
If you want to grow more deeply in your faith, this is for you.
If you feel disconnected from the Church, don’t know how to pray or read your bible this is an opportunity for you to connect from your home, office or café.
Register today for Lent 2019!
Praying Lent This Year
Lent offers us all a very special opportunity to grow in our relationship with God and to deepen our commitment to a way of life, rooted in our baptism. In our busy world, Lent provides us with an opportunity to reflect upon our patterns, to pray more deeply, experience sorrow for what we've done and failed to do, and to be generous to those in need.
We offer resources here to assist our entry into this wonderful season, from our preparing to begin Lent to our preparing to celebrate the holy three days following Lent.
Lenten Activities For Children
If you’re looking for ways to observe Lent with your kids this year, you’ve come to the right place! Browse all my Lenten resources for families by subject below. Click on the link for full directions or printables. Be sure to save this link- I update this post every time I come out with new Lenten resources for kids.
Pretzels & Lent
Pretzels had their beginning around 610 A.D. somewhere in Southern France or Northern Italy. A young monk was preparing unleavened bread for Lent, the Christian period of fasting and penitence before Easter. Christians of the day prayed with their arms folded across their chests, each hand on the opposite shoulder. It occurred to him that he could twist the leftover dough from the bread into this shape and use it as a treat for the children to recite their prayers. He named his creation 'pretiola,' Latin for 'little reward.' In the centuries following, the pretzel made its way into history books and European culture. The pretzel's form became a symbol of good luck, long life and prosperity.
Click here to find out Do pretzels really have anything to do with Lent?
Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday
Every season, in particular liturgical seasons, have their own special traditions and customs. Though Christmas and Easter traditions are most familiar, it is important to highlight and celebrate the other religious seasons of which Lent is one of them. The more common Lenten traditions are ashes on Ash Wednesday, the palms of Palm Sunday, the Rice Bowl for almsgiving, and the devotion of the Stations of the Cross, usually each Friday of Lent. Another way of teaching about Lent is Hot Cross Buns. They are only available during the Lenten season, most often on Ash Wednesday and certainly Good Friday. Hot cross buns are usually made of a sweet spicy dough, with raisins and currents in it, topped with icing shaped in the form of a cross. Thus, hot cross buns!
Like everything else in our faith, the tradition goes back to the earliest and medieval times of the Catholic Church. According to tradition, these buns originated at St Alban's Abbey in 1361, where the monks gave them to the poor people who came there. These Good Friday buns were very popular, and were sold by vendors who cried,
Hot cross buns, Hot cross buns! One a-penny two a-penny, Hot cross buns! If you have no daughters, give 'em to your sons! One a-penny two a-penny, Hot cross buns!
Operation Rice Bowl
A small influx of resources can make a big difference. Hamsatou Tangare in Mali, a country in West Africa, couldn’t earn enough as a tailor to support her family. With a small loan form Catholic Relief Services, she expanded her business and could ultimaitely purchase school supplies for her children. CRS microfinance project work with a group dynamic – Hamsatou meets regularly with thirty other women in her village to ensure accountability and help one another during emergencies. St. Paul tells us to “bear your hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.” Hamsatou and her neighbors are bearing it together. By praying and giving with Operation Rice Bowl, you too are shouldering their burden and expressing a profound message of solidarity. Initiatives like microfinancing will someday lighten the burden of African poverty.
Please participate in Operation Rice Bowl by picking up a Home Calendar Guide, one per family, and one Rice Bowl per person or family. Place the money that you save during Lent in the Rice Bowl and you can bring this back to church during the designated time during the Holy Thursday Mass.
St. Vincent de Paul invites you to fill this bag with items for an Easter dinner. Suggestions include, but are not limited to, the following:
- A box of potatoes
- A box of rice
- A bag of beans
- A bag of pasta noodles
- Cans of fruit
- Cans of green vegetables
- Cans of yellow vegetables
- A bag of wrapped candy
- Items of your choice such as canned spaghetti, chili, stew, tuna, etc.
Please bring your filled bag to Mass with you on the weekend of April 14th, Palm Sunday. We will add a ham, bread, milk, butter and a dessert along with an Easter Basket of goodies and distribute to referred families and/or individuals on Thursday, April 16th, at the Parish Center from 4 – 5:30 p.m. If you have questions, please call Georgeanne at 497-9929. Thank you for helping others.