Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 6, and lasts for forty days. We remember that because we are sinful, we need a Savior. Jesus gave us the greatest gift of Himself for our salvation. He wants us to love Him and be close to Him.  Lent is a great time to give gifts back to God that help us be close to Him. A gift we can give God is the gift of our hearts through practicing penance. Penance is prayer we say or an action we do to make up for our sins and grow closer to God. In Matthew 6:1-18, Jesus talks about three ways to practice penance. The first is prayer. Prayer is when you talk to God. The second is fasting. Fasting is when you give up something. The third is almsgiving. Almsgiving is when you give something to someone in need.

Below you will find some suggestions on how to pray, fast and give alms. Use the downloadable calendar each day to keep track of the gifts you give God during Lent.

Suggestions for Prayer:

  • Pray an Our Father.
  • Pray a Hail Mary.
  • Pray a Glory Be.
  • Pray a decade of the Rosary.
  • Pray a Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
  • Pray for people in need; those who are sick, lonely, unemployed, homeless, sad, or hurting.
  • Pray the Angelus.
  • Pray a prayer of thanksgiving for all God has given you.
  • Pray an Act of Contrition.
  • Read a story from the Bible.
  • Go to an Adoration chapel or church and spend time with Jesus.

Suggestions for Fasting:

  • Give up watching TV.
  • Give up a certain kind of food: sweets, juice, soda.
  • Have only water as your drink for the day.
  • Do not complain.
  • Give up eating snacks between meals.
  • Give up listening to music.
  • Give up playing video games.
  • Eat a simple or smaller meal.
  • Give up putting “extra” things on your food like ketchup, mustard, or salt.

Suggestions for Almsgiving

  • Do an extra chore around the house.
  • Let someone else go in front of you in line.
  • Write a card for someone.
  • Donate food to a shelter.
  • Clean out your closet and donate some clothes.
  • Share or give away a toy to someone.
  • Volunteer at your church.
  • Donate some of your money to the church.

By Mikki Sciba

Mikki Sciba is the Seasons of Infancy and Initiation Specialist for the St. Philip Institute of Catechesis and Evangelization in the Diocese of Tyler. She develops and implements creative methods for evangelizing and catechizing children between the ages of 0-12 years. This includes sacramental preparation for Baptism, Reconciliation, Confirmation, and Communion. Her efforts also include integrating the children’s catechesis into opportunities for continued formation of adults and families. Along with her husband, Matthew, she coordinates the special needs ministry for the Diocese of Tyler. Mikki graduated from Benedictine College in 2005 with a B.A. in Religious Studies, Youth Ministry, and Philosophy. Mikki and her husband live in Tyler with their three children.