Lent one week at a time

girl ashesUnlike the church, which drapes itself in purple, bans “Alleluia,” and takes on a somber personality for 40 days, many families have difficulty carrying Lent’s theme of repentance for six weeks. Here is one Lent idea for each week:

Week 1: Help the poor. Go beyond simply mailing a check or dropping your canned goods in the back of church. Find an organization you support and drive there with your children and your family’s donation. Ask if the organization’s director can give you a tour and explain how the organization works.

Week 2: A rice and beans meal. Giving up meat on Friday isn’t a sacrifice if you have shrimp fettuccini. One evening, use a simple meal of rice and beans to teach your children that one in seven people in the world does not get enough to eat. Show your children photographs of poverty so they can build empathy.

Week 3: An extra prayer at dinner. One night, choose a reading from the Bible or prayer book and have a child read it. During dinner, discuss what it means to you.

Week 4: Service. Give a couple hours to helping at a meal program, volunteering at church, visiting an elderly relative, or anything out of the ordinary.

Week 5: Reconciliation. Take your family to receive this sacrament. Most churches offer an evening reconciliation service during Lent.

All weeks: Attend Mass. If making it to Mass each week is a challenge for your family, commit to going each week of Lent in an effort to turn it into a habit. If your local parish’s schedule doesn’t work for you, find a church with a more convenient Mass time. Attend Holy Thursday Mass and the Good Friday service, even if it’s not convenient.

By Annemarie Scobey, from the pages of At Home with Our FaithClaretian Publications’ print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home. Winner of the Best in Class award in 2013 from the Associated Church Press, as well as a First Place General Excellence award from the Catholic Press Association for the past four years running. Here’s a sample issue.

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