A Lenten Prayer

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					Here are some Lenten ideas, thoughts, and crafts for you. Please let me
know if I can be of more assistance regarding your class lesson on Lent or
ideas to foster Lent throughout this 2011 Lenten Season.
~ William O’Leary (woleary@kcascension.org)

                   How Much Do You Know About Lent?
True or False

1. Lent starts on Ash Wednesday. T

2. During Lent we fast which is to go without food on certain days. T

3. Lent recalls the time that Jesus and the disciples were out in the desert. F – only Jesus

4. A cross is marked on our foreheads with blessed ashes on Ash Wednesday. T

5. We only do fast on Ash Wednesday. F – also on Good Friday

6. All Catholics must fast during certain days in Lent. F- ages 14- To sum up those
requirements, Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 are obliged to fast on Ash
Wednesday and Good Friday. In addition, all Catholics 14 years old and older must
abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all the Fridays of Lent.

Fasting as explained by the U.S. bishops means partaking of only one full meal. Some
food (not equaling another full meal) is permitted at breakfast and around midday or in
the evening—depending on when a person chooses to eat the main or full meal.

7. We are supposed to do almsgiving during Lent, which is giving to the poor. T – and
giving to our neighbor

8. We are supposed to do abstinence during Lent, which is praying and meditation so we
can become more like Jesus. F – Abstinence is do go without. We must abstain from
meat on Ash Wednesday and during all Fridays of Lent. As a way of growing closer to
Christ and doing penance many people abstain from things like gossip, snacking, sweets,
TV, etc.

9. We do fast and abstinence on Good Friday. T

10. Lent ends on Good Friday. F – Lent ends on the Evening of Holy Thursdsay because
then the The Easter Triduum (The 3 holiest days of the Year). It begins with the evening
Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, reaches its high point in the Easter Vigil,
and closes with Evening Prayer on Easter Sunday.It end of Holy Thursday and the
Triduum begins (the 3 holiest days of the Year.
11. Lent is the time before Christmas. F- It is the Time before Easter.

12. The color of Lent is green. F - Purple

13. There are 30 days in Lent, not counting Sundays. F - 40

14. The last Sunday in Lent begins Holy Week. T

15. No Mass is celebrated on Good Friday. T- It is the celebration of Our Lords Passion
with a communion service.

16. We must do abstinence every Friday during Lent. T – from meat

17. Lent is considered a time of penance and discipline. T

18. Lent is a time to prepare for Jesus’ ascension. F – for Jesus Resurrection

19. Eating between meals breaks the fast, but drinking liquids does not. T (the liquid
may include milk and juice).

20. We fast and do abstinence every day during Lent. F (it is not required but many
people do fast and abstain everyday during Lent.

A Lenten Prayer
Fast from judging others; feast on the Christ indwelling in them.
Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of all life.
Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.
Fast from words that pollute; feast on phrases that purify.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
Fast from worry; feast on trust.
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from negatives; feast on affirmatives.
Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from hostility; feast on nonviolence.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from personal anxiety; feast on eternal truth.
Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.
Fast from facts that depress; feast on truths that uplift.
Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from suspicion; feast on truth.
Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
Gentle God, during this season of fasting and feasting, gift us with your presence
so we can be a gift to others in carrying out your work. Amen.
— William Arthur Ward (1921-1994)
(American author, educator, motivational speaker)

Implementation Ideas: Assign one of these to each student and ask your
students each week how it is going?
During Lent, the church instructs its members to make prayer,
fasting and almsgiving integral parts of their lives. For you
who wish to supplement your spiritual diet, your Catholic
Herald presents the following 40 options for prayer, fasting
and almsgiving, in no particular order, as ways to help you
experience a grace-filled Lent — a Lent in which you deepen
your relationship with God.
1. Learn about your patron saint.
2. Pray for — by name — people you don’t like and for
people that don’t like you.
3. Participate in a healing service.
4. Read a Catholic magazine every time you visit the library. By Brian Olszewski
5. March 19, in honor of St. Joseph, patron saint of carpenters and fathers, build or build
upon a relationship with one of your children.
6. Buy two of everything on your grocery list, and give the duplicates to the local food
7. Find out why you should have fun on Laetare Sunday, and then do so.
8. Start a ―cuss bowl.‖ For every unkind word you utter, put in a dollar — two dollars
during Holy Week. After Easter, give the money to an English as a second language
9. Bring a ―Baltimore Catechism‖ to a gathering of Catholic friends, and start asking each
other questions.
10. Give away a material item you really value.
11. Pray for those, e.g., children, parents, spouse, siblings, who have left the church.
12. Talk to a neighbor you rarely or never talk to.
13. Keep a dish of ashes in a prominent place as a constant reminder of the season.
14. Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
15. Test your knowledge of Scripture.
16. Read a biography about Archbishop Oscar Romero and/or watch the video ―Romero.‖
17. Open a Christmas Club account with the intention of giving the money to the Society
of St. Vincent de Paul.
18. Visit a church when you don’t have to.
19. Reserve a button on your car stereo for the Relevant Radio station in your area.
20. Pray the news — for the people whose stories of hardship are reported daily and
21. Read an entry from a Catholic encyclopedia.
22. Attend Mass at a parish other than your own
23. Tithe your tax return.
24. If Catholic schools get NCAA tournament bids, learn for whom those schools were
25. Observe five minutes of silence every day.
26. Instead of watching a regular movie, watch ―The Passion of the Christ.‖
27. Use a Lenten theme in decorating part of a room.
28. Memorize a Proverb.
29. Participate in a faith formation presentation.
30. Tell someone your story(ies) of faith, how God has made a difference in your life.
31. Disconnect the TV and/or the computer.
32. Identify your God-given gifts, how you use them, and how you could use them better.
33. Fast from gossip.
34. Pull the rosary out of your drawer and say it. Too boring? Say the Scriptural rosary.
35. Remove your watch before leaving for church on Palm Sunday.
36. Develop a prayer list.
37. Read a history of the papacy.
38. Find out who Raamah, Putiel, and Uzzah are.
39. Sacrifice your time in order to help others.
40. In the words of St. Francis of Assisi, ―Preach the Gospel at all times, and when
necessary use words.‖

Lent for Little Ones
                                                      by Lillian Silver

                                                  used with permission

I teach a first grade faith formation class. Lenten group activities are very hard to find, so I created some for my class. I
kept them quite simple so that all the children could manage them without too much trouble. My aim was to do an activity
each week during Lent, here are the first four:

      Week One:
      A Lenten Cross
      The first week, the children cut out crosses from the cardboard from cereal
      boxes and large tissue boxes. They made the crosses whatever shape or
      size they wanted, though you could draw a pattern on the cardboard first, or
      have the crosses cut out ready for them.
      Next, they cut out small pictures from magazines and glued them on the
      crosses. They choose whatever pictures they wanted and as many as they
      This cross created a theme for prayer and thankfulness for all the good
      things we have in our lives. Their crosses filled with everyday images also
      encouraged them to relate Jesus to their everyday lives. They loved the
      crosses. Some took them home. Others left them to be displayed on the
      bulletin board.

                                        Week Two:
                                        What is Lent
                                        Another activity for the poster is to ask the chldren draw and color a picture
                                        about the word LENT and what it means to them.
                                        This is an extended activity of the same theme as Week One. It helps the
                                        children see how Lent has a place in their lives.
     Week Three:
     Our Ideas About Lent
     Divide class into four groups. Give each group a piece of cardboard or
     poster board about the size of a 1/4 of a poster board. Have the word LENT
     in block form already on the cardboard.
     Pass out magazines. (This is where your collection of old National
     Geographics and Catholic family and children's magazines comes in
     handy.) Ask the children to cut out pictures about creation, religion and life
     then use them to decorate their poster of Lent.
     One group may fill in the block letters with the pictures. The other group
     may put the letters on the outside of the block letters.
     The children have to cooperate to do this activity. They need to discuss the
     choice of pictures and how they are going to be put on the poster. They gain
     an understanding of all the things that are part of Lent, and an
     understanding of each other.

                                          Week Four:
                                          A Lenten Prayer
                                          Pass out a small tissue box to each child. Ask them to cut out the
                                          smoothest panel from the box.
                                          Show the children how the panel is a drab grey. Suggest to the children
                                          to glue on that side a pretty piece of colored paper. The other side of the
                                          panel (the outside of the box) is already pretty.
                                          On the papered side ask the child to write a simple prayer: "We receive
                                          our love from God up above. I love to pray to God each day." When they
                                          have completed the card, pass them around and ask them to share their
                                          prayers with each other.
                                          This activity shows the children how prayer changes our
                                          life. It makes it beautiful because with prayer we are
                                          following God and doing God's will.

Lenten Alms Jar/Money Jar

This alms jar performs the two-fold purpose of demonstrating to children the
importance of almsgiving and contributing money to the poor.

The whole family can enter into the spirit of saving for alms. A glass jar is placed
at the center of the table on Ash Wednesday, and all the money each family
member saves as a result of self-denial from smoking, eating candy, going to
movies or similar activities is put into it. The mother, buying simpler and cheaper
foods for Lenten meals, puts the difference into the jar at meal time — so all can
see where the cost of the dessert went! The children spend the first weeks of
Lent investigating needy causes and charitable organizations and missions. They
will have the responsibility of determining who gets the alms-fund.
Activity Source: Lent and Holy Week in the Home by Emerson and Arlene Hynes, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville,
Minnesota, 1977

Lenten Prayer Pot
This is an arts and crafts activity that can be worked on throughout the season of
Lent. Maybe just buy pots and follow the ideas beginning Ash Wednesday
First we make the pinch pot out of salt clay.

With pinching gestures, you can mold clay into objects such as animals or even
make a bowl. While this form of pottery seems really basic, you can get a feel for
the clay you are working with and you will get to know the limits of your clay.
(Does it bend easily? Does it dry fast? Etc.)

To make a bowl...
(Begin with a ball of clay)
Begin with a ball of clay. Push your thumb into the center. Then pinch up the

(Turn the piece as you pinch)
Turn the piece as you pinch. This will help you to keep an even thickness in the
walls of the piece.

(Flatten the bottom)
Gently pat the bottom on a flat surface to create a flat spot on the bottom of the

Allow the pot to dry. The outside can be decorated with paint or markers or may
be left plain.

(See http://www.jhpottery.com/tutorial/pinch.htm)

On Ash Wednesday: Place the pot in a special place where
it can't be missed - perhaps the center of the family table. It
reminds us that Lent is here but remains empty for the next
few days.

First Sunday of Lent: A small heart cut from construction paper is placed in the
prayer pot during the main meal to remind everyone of God's love for us and
that we should show our love for, and be kind to, others.

Second Sunday of Lent: A small seed (any kind - sunflower, pumpkin) is
placed in the pot to remind us that God's love for us constantly grows and that
we should try hard to do more for other people.

Third Sunday of Lent: Place a small rubber band in the prayer pot as a
reminder that God always stretches His patience with us and we need to do the
same for others even when it isn't easy.

Fourth Sunday of Lent: A marble or small game piece is placed in the pot to
remind us that we need to remember to take turns, to share.
Fifth Sunday of Lent: Add a little band-aid to remind us to help other people
when they are sad or hurt.

Palm Sunday: Place a tiny piece of palm to remind us that Jesus is our King and
we always need to remember to say our prayers to him.

Easter Sunday: The last item is a tiny piece of egg shell to remind us that Jesus
will always be with us and is always read to hear our prayers.

Activity Source: Catholic Parenting

Maybe make this at the beginning of Lent and send it
home with directions on what to do each week. Have
students share each week in class about it.

Lenten Sacrifice Beans
A wonderful way to help younger children remind them to do penance during
Lent, lima beans in a jar record each Lenten sacrifice.

It is hard to keep track of this treasure that is laid in Heaven if you are
quite small and six weeks drag out like six years. We have made this
part of the effort visible for the children so that they might see that
they were accomplishing something. On or about Ash Wednesday, we
dye lima beans purple to be used as counters in a jar. Beans, because
they are seeds which, if put in the ground, appear to die only to spring
forth with new life. This is what Our Lord said we must do if we would
have life in Him. He that seems to lose his life shall gain it. The beans
remind us that daily death to self in one self-denial after another is the
dying which will find for us new life in Him.
Activity Source: Year and Our Children, The by Mary Reed Newland, P.J. Kenedy & Sons, New York, 1956

Sacrifice Beads Version 2
As a child, St. Therese had ―sacrifice beads,‖ which was a small string of beads to help
her count the ―presents‖ she offered to God. Each time she would make a sacrifice such
as letting someone else have their way, St. Therese would secretly reach into her pocket
and ―pull a bead‖ to Jesus on the Crucifix. Like St. Therese, these sacrifice beads in our
pocket can help us to become more aware of offering ―presents‖ to God all day long.
Make St. Therese’s sacrifice beads for the children to count their ―presents‖ or sacrifices
for God as St. Therese did.

St. Therese, a Doctor of the Church, has shown the world how to do little things in a
grand way. All day long, she did little things to show Jesus how much she loved Him.
Therese knew that even the smallest thing in the world, if done for the love of God, is
beautiful in God’s eyes. She has taught the whole Church that in all our actions, it’s the
intent of our heart that matters the most. Therese offered prayers and sacrifices to Jesus

So often we are afraid to suffer. We are afraid of the cross. But Jesus tells us, ―I am the
way, I am the truth, I am the life.‖ Jesus suffered much throughout His life, and if we are
to follow in His footsteps, we will also run into sorrow and pain. The difference is that
with Jesus, pain can be transformed into peace and joy. Jesus suffered for a purpose—to
open up the gates of Heaven for us. If we stay by Jesus’ side, we, too, will be able to turn
pain and suffering into joy for ourselves and others.

With the family

Discuss sacrifice. Can there be anything good about sacrifices and people ―offering
things up‖ for another?

Briefly talk about St. Therese and her Little Way.

      Who she was: At 15, Therese Martin entered a Carmelite monastery and remained
       there praying and sacrificing for souls until she died of tuberculosis at the age of
       24. Therese especially enjoyed praying for priests and for lost souls. While she
       was alive, very few knew how holy she was. This is because she followed ―the
       Little Way.‖ Some of the sisters in the cloister wondered what good thing they
       could mention about St. Therese in her funeral Mass because they thought she had
       not done anything worthy of note in her life!
      What the Little Way is: Therese did not feel that she could do big, grand things
       for the Lord, but she knew that she could offer up little things for Him all day
       long. Even something little like picking up a piece of string off the floor, Therese
       knew that if she did it for the love of God, it was beautiful in God’s eyes. She has
       taught us in all our actions, it’s the intent of our heart that matters the most.
      St. Therese offered up everything for graces for others
      St. Therese also teaches us about humility—we don’t get any thanks or
       recognition from others because the acts are so small and so hidden but our
       heavenly Father, who sees all things, will repay us.
      St. Therese experienced transferences. She said she didn’t mind being in a dark
       tunnel because she knew someone somewhere was getting light.
      Read Mt 6:1-7. Emphasize that our heavenly Father sees all things.

As a child, St. Therese had ―sacrifice beads,‖ which was a small string of beads to help
her count the ―presents‖ she offered to God. Each time she would make a sacrifice such
as letting someone else have their way, St. Therese would secretly reach into her pocket
and ―pull a bead‖ to Jesus on the Crucifix. Like St. Therese, these sacrifice beads in our
pocket can help us to become more aware of offering ―presents‖ to God all day long.
Make St. Therese’s sacrifice beads for the children to count their ―presents‖ or sacrifices
for God as St. Therese did.

Together say a prayer to St. Therese and ask for her help and intercession as you embark
upon this little way of doing little things for God because you love Him.

Throughout the week

Encourage your family to put their sacrifice beads in their pockets each day, so they can
―pull a bead‖ secretly whenever they make a little sacrifice, offering, or prayer to the
Lord. When saying good night to each child, it will be helpful to share with them how
you are doing with your sacrifice beads and encourage them to share some of their
―presents‖ with you.

(Resource from the Intercessors of the Lamb, a Public Association of the
Christian Faithful, located in Omaha, Nebraska).

Lenten Children’s Time Ideas
Put Away the Hallelujahs
On the first Sunday of Lent, explain that some Christian traditions do not say or sing
―hallelujah‖ during the season of Lent.
Cut shapes from yellow paper or Bristol board. Have children and all worshippers write
―hallelujah‖ on each shape and hold it while the group sings several songs that include
At the end of the singing, invite everyone to put their hallelujahs in a small box to be
placed on the altar or somewhere it will be noticed during Lent. Inform the group that the
box will be opened on Easter Sunday, when once again hallelujahs will be shared.

Take a Lenten Journey
Have a cross, footprint cutouts, and a backpack or overnight bag to help with the
On the first Sunday of Lent, tell those gathered that over the next several weeks the
church is going on a journey together. It’s a journey called Lent, and it helps us come
closer and closer to the cross and to Christ as we get ready for Easter.
Tell the children that, traditionally, Lent lasts for 40 days and is a time to think about the
things we do and say that keep us from God, one another, and God’s creation. We all do
things that hurt others, and we all need to say we’re sorry and ask for forgiveness. Lent
symbolizes the 40 days Jesus prayed and fasted in the wilderness before beginning his
Tell them that Lent is a serious time because, while we’re getting ready for Easter, which
is a very happy time, we know we must first come close to the cross and remember the
sadness of Jesus’ death on the cross before we can celebrate the joy of Easter and Jesus’
If you don’t already display a cross in your worship space, place one on the communion
table or in some other prominent place. Show the children your backpack and tell them
that each week during Lent you'll bring it in with an item that helps people feel closer to
Jesus. Allow them to offer suggestions of items to put in the backpack. Place a footprint
shape on the floor a step closer to the cross than where you are gathered. Say a prayer
together, asking God’s blessing on your Lenten journey toward the cross and Christ.
Over the next weeks, remind those gathered about the journey and place a footprint one
step closer to the cross each week.

Additional items for the backpack could include

      praying hands or prayer beads as a reminder that prayer helps us get closer to
      a bottle of water or a shell as a reminder that baptism helps us come closer to
      bread and juice or other communion symbols as a reminder that communion helps
       us come closer to Christ
      a picture of the church or people in the church as a reminder that gathering
       together with other Christians helps us come closer to Christ
      a Bible as a reminder that reading and studying the Bible helps us come closer to
      a forsythia branch or other spring flower as a reminder that nature and an
       awareness of the changing seasons can help us come closer to Christ
      sculpture, paintings, or other artwork as a reminder that art and beauty can help us
       come closer to Christ
The weekly activities for the Map follow below.
Journey Through Lent Game
Materials- large die, egg timer, questions about Lent

Make a die out of a large juice carton http://mssscrafts.com/crafts/creationdice.htm
and put a ? mark on some (at least 3) of the sides of the die.

Directions- The objective of the game is to get the most points by answering questions
about Lent. Set an egg timer for a specified time. Have a player roll the die on the floor
in front of the class. If the die lands on a blank space, they do not answer a question. If
the die lands on ―?‖, they are asked a question by the teacher about Lent. If the player
answers correctly, they receive a point (you can use tokens, write it on the board, etc.). If
they are not correct, they do not receive a point. Players must collect as many points as
they can. The game is over when the egg timer goes off. Whoever has the most points,
wins. You can play this game individually or in teams. For an added challenge, you can
also have ―Lose 1 Point‖ and ―Take 1 Point‖ on one or a couple of the sides of the die.
When a player rolls ―Lose 1 Point‖, they must lose 1 point. If a player rolls ―Take 1
Point‖, they may take a point from any player they choose.


On what day does Lent begin? Ash Wednesday

Lent is the time before ___________? Easter

How many days does Lent last? 40 days not counting Sundays

Why does Lent last 40 days? The 40 days recalls the 40 days Jesus spent in the
  wilderness, fasting and being tempted by Satan (Matthew 4:1-11).

What do we do during Lent? We pray, fast, and do almsgiving.

During Lent we fast. What does fasting mean? Fasting means going without food or
eating less. It can also mean giving up a certain food or treat.

Does eating between meals break the fast? Yes

Does drinking liquids between meals break the fast? No

At what age do Catholics start fasting? 18

If you are six years old, do you fast during Lent? No

If you are 16 years old, do you fast during Lent? No

Should your parents fast during Lent? Yes

What days do Catholics fast? On Ash Wednesday and on Good Friday.
During Lent, Catholics do abstinence. What is abstinence? Abstinence means to not eat

On what days are Catholics not to eat meat? On Fridays and on Ash Wednesday.

At what age do Catholics not eat meat during Lent? 14

If you are 16 years old, do you do abstinence during Lent? Yes

If you are six years old, do you do abstinence during Lent? No

Should your parents do abstinence during Lent? Yes

What can we eat that is not meat? Fish and other seafood, vegetables, eggs, milk and
  other dairy products.

Do we fast and do abstinence every day during Lent? No, we only fast and do abstinence
   on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. During Lent, every Friday we must practice
   abstinence (not eat meat).

When does Lent end? Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday

What is the liturgical color for Lent? Violet

What day does the priest or other minister make the Sign of the Cross on your forehead
with blessed ashes? Ash Wednesday

What shape are the blessed ashes put on your forehead? A cross.

On what day during Lent is there no Mass celebrated? Good Friday

What are the ashes made from? Burning palm leaves which have been saved from last
year’s Palm Sunday.

What is penance? Self punishment.

What is the name of the day just before Ash Wednesday? Fat Tuesday, Marti Gras,
Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day

The Church gives us how many weeks of Lent to prepare for Easter? 6

Easter celebrates the _________ Mystery, the mystery of our dying to sin and rising with
Christ to the new life of grace. (Paschal)

What is almsgiving? Giving to the poor.
Some other websites to consider:



Stations of the Cross ideas: http://catholicblogger1.blogspot.com/2009/02/stations-of-



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