What Should I Do For Lent?

10 Tips from Pope Francis

1.  Get rid of the lazy addiction to evil

“[Lent] is a ‘powerful’ season, a turning point that can foster change and conversion in each of us. We all need to improve, to change for the better. Lent helps us and thus we leave behind old habits and the lazy addiction to the evil that deceives and ensnares us.
– General Audience, March 5, 2014

2.  Do something that hurts

“Lent is a fitting time for self-denial; we would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help and enrich others by our own poverty. Let us not forget that real poverty hurts: no self-denial is real without this dimension of penance. I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt.
– Lenten Message, 2014

3.  Don’t remain indifferent

“Indifference to our neighbor and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians. Each year during Lent we need to hear once more the voice of the prophets who cry out and trouble our conscience. God is not indifferent to our world; he so loves it that he gave his Son for our salvation.”
– Lenten Message, 2015

4.  Pray: Make our hearts like yours!

“During this Lent, then, brothers and sisters, let us all ask the Lord: ‘Fac cor nostrum secundum cor tuum’Make our hearts like yours (Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus). In this way we will receive a heart which is firm and merciful, attentive and generous, a heart which is not closed, indifferent or prey to the globalization of indifference.”
– Lenten Message, 2015

5.  Take part in the sacraments

“Lent is a favorable time for letting Christ serve us so that we in turn may become more like him. This happens whenever we hear the word of God and receive the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. There we become what we receive: the Body of Christ.”
– Lenten Message, 2015

6.  Prayer

“In the face of so many wounds that hurt us and could harden our hearts, we are called to dive into the sea of prayer, which is the sea of God’s boundless love, to taste his tenderness. Lent is a time of prayer, of more intense prayer, more prolonged, more assiduous, more able to take on the needs of the brethren; intercessory prayer, to intercede before God for the many situations of poverty and suffering.”
– Homily, March 5, 2014

7.  Fasting

We must be careful not to practice a formal fast, or one which in truth ‘satisfies’ us because it makes us feel good about ourselves. Fasting makes sense if it questions our security, and if it also leads to some benefit for others, if it helps us to cultivate the style of the Good Samaritan, who bends down to his brother in need and takes care of him.”
– Homily, March 5, 2014

8.  Almsgiving

“Today gratuitousness is often not part of daily life where everything is bought and sold. Everything is calculated and measured. Almsgiving helps us to experience giving freely, which leads to freedom from the obsession of possessing, from the fear of losing what we have, from the sadness of one who does not wish to share his wealth with others.”
– Homily, March 5, 2014

9.  Help the Poor

“In the poor and outcast we see Christ’s face; by loving and helping the poor, we love and serve Christ. Our efforts are also directed to ending violations of human dignity, discrimination and abuse in the world, for these are so often the cause of destitution. When power, luxury and money become idols, they take priority over the need for a fair distribution of wealth. Our consciences thus need to be converted to justice, equality, simplicity and sharing.
– Lenten Message, 2014

10.  Evangelize

“The Lord asks us to be joyous heralds of this message of mercy and hope! It is thrilling to experience the joy of spreading this good news, sharing the treasure entrusted to us, consoling broken hearts and offering hope to our brothers and sisters experiencing darkness.”
– Lenten Message, 2014

Lent

IMPORTANT DAYS DURING LENT

Ash Wednesday: Marks the start of Lent and the time for penance. Obligatory day of fasting and abstinence.

Fridays of Lent:  Obligatory abstinence. All Fridays (even outside of Lent) are days of penance.

Holy Thursday: Lent ends and the Holy Triduum begins in the evening with the commemoration of the Institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper.

Good Friday: The anniversary of the Crucifixion of Christ (no Mass). Obligatory day of fasting and abstinence.

Holy Saturday:  Christ is in the grave conquering death and freeing the captives. Final day of Lenten fasting (no daily Mass, Easter Vigil begins at sundown).

Sacred Triduum: The period of 3 days (Holy Thursday + Good Friday + Holy Saturday) during which we remember Christ’s Passion, ending at the Easter Vigil (Saturday evening).

Easter Sunday:  Lent has ended and the joy begins, the day of Christ’s resurrection, the principle Christian feast of the entire liturgical year. This is the celebration of Christ’s victory over sin and death merited for us by his passion, death, and resurrection from the dead on Easter Sunday.

Veiling of Statues
Passiontide

BEST LENTEN PRACTICES

 

  • The entire season of Lent is a penitential season. The liturgical color for Lent is purple (just like Advent) to show that it is a special time of penance. Taking up additional practices, such as self-imposed fasting outside of the obligatory times, Lenten devotions and spiritual reading, Stations of the Cross, a daily rosary, serving the poor, etc., all enhance the penitential and spiritual aspect of Lent.
  • Make the Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession) an important part of your Lenten penitential practice. Many parishes have special times for confession during Lent. One traditional devotion towards this sacrament is to make a general confession of your whole life using an examination of conscience.
  • Attend Mass on Ash Wednesday. While it is not a Holy Day of Obligation, all are encouraged to attend to receive ashes on the forehead.
  • Attend Mass on Holy Thursday to commemorate the institution of the Eucharist, called the “Mass of the Lord’s Supper.”
  • At 3 o’clock on Good Friday, pause and make a special effort to keep this hour sacred. This is the hour of Christ’s death on the cross, after which redemption for mankind was completed. Praying the Divine Mercy chaplet is ideal at this time (it just takes five minutes), or check your local parish schedules for a 3 o’clock Good Friday service (see below).
  • If possible, try to clear your schedule in order to participate in the traditional Veneration of the Cross service on Good Friday.
  • Continue your Good Friday fast up to the start of the Easter Vigil to correspond to the entire time from Christ’s death on the cross until his resurrection on Easter Sunday.
  • Attend the Easter Vigil at sundown on Holy Saturday to welcome the Easter Sunday feast. Pray for those being received into full communion with the Catholic Church at this Mass, that they will remain faithful to Christ and his Church, grow in holiness, and become saints.
  • On Easter Sunday and throughout the Easter season, fully celebrate the joy of Christ’s Resurrection and the conquering of sin and death he merited for us. Greet one another with the Paschal Greeting/Easter Acclamation, “Christ is risen!” and the response, “He is risen indeed!”
Shrovetide
Ashes
I.N.R.I.