Lenten Activities


To learn about all the opportunities at St. Joe's for a meaningful Lent see our brochure HERE.


From the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

The 2019 Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday, March 6, for Latin-rite Catholics with Easter Sunday on April 21.

During Lent, we are asked to devote ourselves to seeking the Lord in prayer and reading Scripture, to service by giving alms, and to sacrifice self-control through fasting. Many know of the tradition of abstaining from meat on Fridays during Lent, but we are also called to practice self-discipline and fast in other ways throughout the season. Contemplate the meaning and origins of the Lenten fasting tradition in this reflection. In addition, the giving of alms is one way to share God's gifts—not only through the distribution of money, but through the sharing of our time and talents. As St. John Chrysostom reminds us: "Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2446).

Lent is a favorable season for opening the doors to all those in need and recognizing in them the face of Christ."-- Pope Francis

In Lent, the baptized are called to renew their baptismal commitment as others prepare to be baptized through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, a period of learning and discernment for individuals who have declared their desire to become Catholics.

The key to fruitful observance of these practices is to recognize their link to baptismal renewal. We are called not just to abstain from sin during Lent, but to true conversion of our hearts and minds as followers of Christ. We recall those waters in which we were baptized into Christ's death, died to sin and evil, and began new life in Christ.

On these pages, you will find a variety of suggestions and resources to help you "raise up," "sacrifice," and "offer" during this Lent and to embrace your baptismal commitment.

Catholics are also encouraged to make going to confession a significant part of their spiritual lives during Lent.  The U.S. Bishops' statement, "God's Gift of Forgiveness: The Pastoral Exhortation on the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation" can be distributed and shared in parishes.  Dioceses are encouraged to make the sacrament available often during Lent and to use these resources to promote participation.  We also have resources to help individuals who have not been to confession in a while "rediscover" the sacrament. 

Above taken from the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops website HERE.


Lenten Prayers & Devotions:

• Begin each morning with the prayer: "Lord, I offer you this day, and all that I think, and do, and say."
• Attend Daily Mass as often as possible.
• Pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.
• Make the Stations of the Cross at home or in a parish celebration.
• Read Scripture for 10 minutes every day.
• Pray the Seven Penitential Psalms (Psalm 6, 31, 50, 101, 129 and 142).
• Spend some time in quiet prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.
• Abstain from meat for an extra day or two each week.
• Listen to spiritual music or a spiritual speaker.
• Keep a Lenten journal with your spiritual insights, special intentions, people you want to pray for, hurts and disappointments that you want to offer up, and progress reports on your Lenten resolutions.


10 tips for making the season more meaningful

  1. Slow Down - Set aside 10 minutes a day for silent prayer or meditation. It will revitalize your body and your spirit.
  2. Read a good book - You could choose the life of a saint, a spiritual how-to, an inspirational book or one of the pope's new books.
  3. Be kind - Go out of your way to do something nice for someone else every day.
  4. Get involved - Attend a Lenten lecture or spiritual program.
  5. Volunteer at your parish - Whether it's the parish fish fry, cleaning the church or helping with the food drive, it will give you a chance to help others.
  6. Reach out - Invite an inactive Catholic to come with you to receive ashes on Ash Wednesday.
  7. Pray - Especially for people you don't like and for people who don't like you.
  8. Tune out - Turn off the television and spend quality time talking with family members or friends.
  9. Clean out closets - Donate gently used items to the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
  10. Donate — Google "Catholic Missions." Then pick one mission and decide how you can help by sending money, clothing or supplies.

Bless me, Father, for I have sinned…

If you haven't gone to confession in a while, Lent is the perfect time to reconcile yourself with God and the Church. Most parishes have communal penance services with prayers and Scripture readings, followed by the opportunity for individual confession (a necessity for absolution of mortal sins). Or you can also make a private appointment with a priest.

confession
W.P. Wittman photo

Preparation for confession should include an examination of conscience, which means you think back on sins you have committed since your last confession.

What happens during confession depends on the priest and the person. Most people still start with the formula: "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been (state the number of months or years) since my last confession."

If you can't remember the words or you don't recall how long it's been, don't worry. Just tell the priest it's been a long time, and he will guide you through the process.

What you will experience is the healing gift of God's love, the chance to start over with a clean conscience, and an overwhelming sense of gratitude.

How to make a good confession

Some of these ideas were taken from the Our Sunday Visitor website HERE.