This Lent, why not let us do the heavy lifting and provide you with a plethora of resources from across the web to make your Lenten load a little lighter.
CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS
A Catholic Guide to Holy Week Symbols — Ever wonder what exactly the palm branches used on Palm Sunday represent? Or why the Easter Vigil begins with a fire? This guide explains all of that and more.
Holy Week Around the World — Holy Week is a worldwide celebration, with many cultures honoring the occasion in many different ways. Here, read about the celebrations in Spain, the Philippines, and more.
An Illustrated Guide to the Triduum — Print out and hang up this poster that explains the basics of the Triduum in colorful illustrations!
Holy Week in Three Minutes — This video describes the different days throughout Holy Week – focusing on the Triduum – and why Catholic traditions stand as they do.
Rediscovering the Sacrament of Penance — Oftentimes, people find Lent an excellent time to attend confession. If it has been a while since you last attended, or you’re feeling anxious to go, take a look at this video.
Preparing for Lent — In this video, Fr. Mike Schmitz explains how prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are the three pillars of a spiritually fruitful Lent. He then challenges us to try new ways to exercise these Lenten practices, sharing several simple strategies for drawing closer to God during this holy season.
Where Jesus Walked — In this video, learn where Jesus traveled as He spread His word. Explore geographical locations that played important parts in Jesus’ life and ministry, from His birth in Bethlehem to His final walk in Calvary. Recommended viewing for families.
Catholic history of Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Lent and Ash Wednesday — The historical roots of Carnival and Mardi Gras lie in the Catholic calendar. It is the “last hurrah” before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. That’s why the enormous party in New Orleans, for example, ends abruptly at midnight on Tuesday, with battalions of street sweepers pushing the crowds out of the French Quarter towards home. Learn about how these are all connected in this video.
This Time of Forty Days — Lent is approaching quickly! In today’s culture and climate, we need every encouragement we can in order to test ourselves, to prove ourselves worthy to be disciples of Christ. Lent is a fantastic opportunity to die to oneself, and learn to cling all the more to Christ, who loves us and gave Himself up on the cross for us. And yet, Lent is not meant to be sad or depressing, but filled with joy. This comedy song is Nick Alexander’s attempt to inject some much needed joy into the Lenten season. May it encourage you and give you laughter!
Ash Wednesday explained… — In this animated video Dusty explains the meaning and origins of Ash Wednesday to Mercury.
40 Ideas for 40 Days — Ideas for catechists to use with children during Lent from Catechists Journey
Forty Lenten Ideas — A PDF by Sr. Janet Schaeffler –Lent approaches each year, our minds turn to, “what will we do; what will we give up?” Instead of giving up, why not put something in … something that will take hold and stay with us for the rest of our lives – since Lent is about change/conversion. [Adult]
4 Reasons for Fasting — Why do we fast? Fr. Mike Schmitz explains that it’s not about getting more love and attention from God. Fasting is about self-mastery, discernment, sacrifice, and being a co-redeemer with Jesus. In this video, Fr. Mike dives deeper into these four reasons, helping you make the most of your fasting this Lent. [Young Adult, Adult]
Ash Wednesday & Lent in Two Minutes (YouTube Video from BustedHalo) — A brief kinetic type video explaining the what and why of Ash Wednesday and Lent, from the history of wearing ashes dating back to the Old Testament, to the practices of Catholics and Christians during Lent.
CRS Rice Bowl 2018/Encounter Lent — 66 videos on what is Lent, stories of those who benefit from Operation Rice Bowl, and Stations of the Cross in both English and Spanish. From Catholic Relief Services, the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the US. [Teens, Young Adult, Adult]
Lenten Resources — Downloadable Lenten resources from Sadlier that help disciples of all ages make special efforts to pray, do penance, and do good works
Lent – Resources for your Lenten Journey — A library of downloads and other resources on many aspects of Lent and Holy Week for all ages from Loyola Press
The Face of Prayer — A site featuring resources for those in need of prayer, healing, and answers. Includes a large collection of video Catholic Q&A’s answered by a large team of catechists.
The Significance of Ash Wednesday — They may just be ashes, but Fr. Mike points out that what they represent goes far beyond mere dust of the earth. With a simple cross on the forehead, we are recognizing that we are far from perfect, but that God loves and redeems us—not despite our brokenness, but in the midst of it. If you want to start off your Lent with a reminder of Ash Wednesday’s deeper meaning, listen to Fr. Mike’s heartfelt words in this video.
Liturgy and Life (2): The Elect: Journeying Toward Baptism (Part 1 of 2) — The elect celebrating the turning point of the catechumenate, their journey toward baptism, with the Rite of Sending and the Rite of Election on the First Sunday of Lent. [Adult]
Liturgy and Life (2): The Elect: Journeying Toward Baptism (Part 2 of 2) — In Part 2, the Elect celebrating the turning point of the catechumenate, their journey toward baptism, with the Rite of Sending and the Rite of Election on the First Sunday of Lent. [Adult]
Liturgy and Life (3): Purification and Enlightenment (Part 1 of 2) — Continue the journey with the elect preparing for baptism as they celebrate the Scrutinies during this Lenten period of purification and enlightenment as part of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.[Adult]
Liturgy and Life (3): Purification and Enlightenment (Part 2 of 2) — Continue the journey with the Elect preparing for baptism as they celebrate the Presentation of the Lord’s Prayer during this Lenten period of purification and enlightenment as part of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. [Adult]
Palm Sunday — Video for teens from Outside Da Box Productions – a reflection on the crucifixion of Jesus and sacrificial love
EXAMINATIONS OF CONSCIENCE
From the USCCB: “Before celebrating the Sacrament of Penance, one should prepare oneself with an examination of conscience, which involves reflecting prayerfully on one’s thoughts, words, and deeds in order to identify any sins.”
Examination of Conscience in Light of Catholic Social Teaching — This resource is also available en español.
Examination of Conscience on Civility — Pope Francis reminds us that in the Gospel of Matthew we are called to be “salt of the earth and light of the world.”
Examination of Conscience based on the Ten Commandments — A one-page PDF.
PRAYERS, DEVOTIONS, & REFLECTIONS
How to Carry the Meaning of Holy Week Through the Rest of the Year — Just because Holy Week has ended doesn’t mean we have to act any differently. This page helps explain how we can feel God’s majesty all year round.
A Reflection on Lenten Fasting — Rev. Daniel Merz discusses the backgrounds of fasting during Lent and how a food fast is representative of fasting from sin.
Living Lent — Living Lent Daily is a daily e-mail series delivering fresh reflections based on the Scriptures of Lent. Each day’s message includes a quotation from the day’s Scripture readings and a brief reflection to spur meditation, prayer, and self-examination. The messages also include suggestions for further exploration of Lenten themes through additional online articles and prayers. [Adult]
Praying Lent — “Praying Lent” online resources for prayer and retreat for Lent from Creighton University (young adult, adult). Choose recipes, daily prayer, audio and video retreats, etc.
Reflecting on the Lenten Scriptures – Video options for Cycle A — Selected by Joe Paprocki, video reflections for each Sunday of Lent. Options for adults and teens/young adults.
Stations of the Cross for Children — Catherine Odell from Loyola Kids Book of Everyday Prayers offers a pdf guide and multimedia presentation of the Stations adapted for children. [Children]
Scriptural Stations of the Cross — Scripted versions based on those celebrated by Pope John Paul II on Good Friday 1991. They are presented by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops as an alternative to the traditional stations and as a way of reflecting more deeply on the Scriptural accounts of Christ’s passion. [Adult]
Stations of the Cross — Audio version of the Stations [Adult]
Lenten Adventures — Free emails during Lent for families – includes videos, games, and other activities to help families deepen faith and focus on Lent
The Prodigal Son Story — A contemporary rendition of the Prodigal Son Story, good for teens through adults