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
Living Lent Daily
Living Lent Daily features prayers, thoughts and more each day to inspire you throughout your Lenten journey. A new article will become available daily throughout Lent. View past days by selecting their image in the scrolling bar .
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.
Lent: Call To Conversion
The American Catholic feature includes a Lenten calendar, activities, readings and reflections updated daily throughout Lent, from Ash Wednesday through Holy Week and Good Friday.
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 some of the resources available through this site.
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
A link to the Catholic Mom website for a variety of resources for kids.
Reconciliation: Preparing For Jesus
The Catholic Sacrament of Reconciliation (also known as the Sacrament of Penance, or Penance and Reconciliation) has three elements: conversion, confession and celebration. In it we find God's unconditional forgiveness, and as a result we are called to forgive others.
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.