Lent for Families

Welcome to

Living Lent, Holy Week and Easter as a Family

We hope you have found our Lenten messges, activities, and suggestions useful.

Here are some new sheets for Easter Sunday:

A Lenten Message from Bishop Philip:

“Lent is a wonderful time of 40 days when we prepare ourselves for the celebration of Easter and the Passover of the Lord from death to life. It is a time of healing when we ask God to renew within us His love. We seek by God’s grace to cast off the old ways and to take on the new, that is, to die with Christ – and to rise again with Him to new life. Lent is not simply about ‘giving things up’ or ‘doing something extra.’ St. Leo reminds us there are three saving works: (1) self-denial, fasting and mortification; (2) prayer and devotion, study, and reflection; and (3) charitable outreach or almsgiving. Although these works are good in themselves, we don’t do them for their own sake. True, fasting may be good for our physical health – and almsgiving is a really practical means of helping the poor. Yet we do these works out of love for God! We do them in order to bring about change in our inner selves and spiritual lives. We do them as a penance for our sins. We do them as a prayer for God’s mercy that we may come to a deeper relationship with Him.”

Basic Observance of Lent

Prayer!

Lent is a great time to focus on family prayer. Why not think about praying together as a family each night? Why not bless your children before they go to bed, making a cross on their forehead, asking God to bless them?

Fasting!

Lent is a good time to remember meat-free Fridays; Jesus died for us on a Friday, so every Friday (and Lent is a good time to embrace this) the Catholic church asks us to abstain from meat as a special sacrifice for him. Children aren’t required to fast, but they learn by example and seeing you give up something, you will be modelling how much you love God more than biscuits or chocolate! Your children may like to give up something small on a Friday too. Don’t forget that Ash Wednesday is a Day of Fasting and Abstinence. Fasting means reducing the amount of food we eat (e.g. having just one usual meal and two snacks) and abstinence means abstaining from eating meat. The law of fasting applies to anyone aged 18-60. The law of abstinence applies to those who are over 14.

Almsgiving!

In our busy lives it’s easy to forget that we’re surrounded by people who need our attention or help, whether in our own families, schools or in the wider community. How can we help someone this Lent?

Lenten Path and Calendar!

Colour your way through Lent to Easter with a daily prayer, fasting or helping challenge along the way. Print off the sheets below, then each day pick one item from the calendar, and then colour in a square on the path when you have completed the task.

Here is your Lenten Calendar – click on the image to reach a PDF to download and print out

Here is your Lenten path.

Click on the image to reach a PDF to download and print out.

Purple!

Purple is the liturgical colour of the season. If you have a purple cloth, you could cover your crucifixes at home, and place a purple cloth on your prayer table.

Prayer Table!

Why not think about setting up a prayer corner? If you don’t have one, now is a great time to set one up. It need only be simple with perhaps with a purple cloth (used in Lent and Advent), a candle, Bible, crucifix, and religious statue or picture.

Weekly Offering!

Each week we will be posting a few things to help you guide your children through Lent. It will include: a brief overview of the Gospel Reading for each Sunday, one or two saints’ feast days or notable days, a colouring and puzzle sheet, a related activity, and an invitation to prayer.

Why not think about:

  • Reading the Gospel at home with your children before Mass and perhaps reflect and discuss together what it might mean for us.
  • Finding out more about the saints, which the Church holds up as examples for us. We will give you a brief summary of each saint and a colouring sheet, but you might like to do some of your own research with your children!
  • Attending Mass each Sunday if you don’t already.

Ideas of how to pray as a family

Family Evening/Night Prayer

Some suggestions are:

  • Set up a prayer table as above, or simply light a candle
    • Begin by making the Sign of the Cross
    • Pray: “Come, Holy Spirit, and help us to pray”
    • Invite everyone to think about the day and say sorry in their heart to God for anything they might have done, thought, or said wrong
    • Invite everyone to thank God for something
    • Invite everyone to ask God for something (it could be for themselves, someone they know, or something in the world)
    • Read the Gospel of the day or another Bible reading (and discuss)
    • Pray the Our Father together or a decade of the Rosary
    • Pray the Guardian Angels Prayer together
    • Make the Sign of the Cross

Bedtime Blessing

  • Bless each of your children, making the sign of the cross on their forehead, and praying for God to bless and protect them

Grace Before Meals

  • Choose a grace to pray before meals as a family

The Sunday Gospel

  • Read the Sunday Gospel together before Mass, reflecting on what it might mean for us in our lives
Quilt showing Bible images, created by Harriet Power