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30 Meaningful Ways to Observe Lent

There are many meaningful ways to observe Lent every year.

Lent is the 40-day liturgical season before the celebration of Easter. It begins on Ash Wednesday and ends at sundown on Holy Thursday. If you’re new to Lent, check out this beginner’s guide for Catholics.

During this spiritual season, we are called to prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. These three pillars serve as a guide to help Catholics observe Lent. Each year, the faithful will either take up or abstain from an activity or practice that helps them become closer to Christ.

As you prepare for this spiritual season, consider these 30 meaningful ways you can observe Lent below.

  1. Go to church on Ash Wednesday. Start the Lenten season off strong by going to Mass and getting your ashes.
  2. Create a prayer corner in your home. Use a purple cloth for the Lenten season. Add a cross, rosary and a Bible.
  3. Attend Mass at a new church. Choose one named after a saint that inspires you or one with Masses in another language.
  4. Start a new spiritual practice. Start meditation, do a daily devotional or pray a different Catholic prayer.
  5. Read a Gospel on the life of Jesus. Choose either Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John in the New Testament.
  6. Go to reconciliation. Many parishes host a Lenten Reconciliation service so you can meet with a priest outside of your parish and in your native language.
  7. Spend time in Eucharistic Adoration at a nearby parish.
  8. Meditate on the Stations of the Cross. Most parishes host this during Lent. It is also available on YouTube.
  9. Donate to a local charity. This includes money, clothes, household items, or travel-size hygiene kits for people experiencing homelessness.
  10. Volunteer at your parish or with a local organization.
  11. Keep a daily journal of reflections during Lent. Check out the Spirit and Sparkle store to order your journal today.
  12. Support a parish fish fry. You can visit the one at your parish or attend a different one every week during Lent. Invite your friends and family to join in the fun.
  13. Abstain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent. Some people also do Meatless Mondays.
  14. Give up something you indulge in. Whether it’s desserts or your favorite video game, use the time or money spent in a way that brings you closer to Christ.
  15. Do an act of kindness for 40 days. Say a prayer for someone, pay for a coffee for the person behind you in the line or send a text to a loved one and let them know you’re thinking of them.
  16. Learn about an issue under Catholic social teaching, such as the death penalty, stewardship of creation, or racism. Choose an issue you are unfamiliar with and research how the Church has responded to this issue. If you feel compelled, join a ministry and get involved.
  17. Participate in the CRS Rice Bowl, which helps to support Catholic missionary work around the world and in your community.
  18. Go on a Lenten retreat. It can be at your parish or at a local retreat center.
  19. Prepare and eat simple meals. This serves as a reminder of how we’re connected with our brothers and sisters who are less fortunate.
  20. Review the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Commit to completing at least one of these during the Lenten season.
  21. Listen to Lenten hymns. Music that praises God is like praying twice. Check out a list of hymns from the Catholic Review.
  22. Practice gratitude every day to remind you of God’s blessings in your life.
  23. Limit the time you spend using electronics. Turn them off earlier in the day to spend time with your family or to connect with God.
  24. Join a spiritual book club at your church or online.
  25. Use a faith-based coloring book to reconnect with your creativity. Popular books such as “Color the Words of Jesus” and the “Mass Coloring and Activity Book” for kids are great options.
  26. Watch a film based on the life of Jesus. IMDb has a list of movies to start your search.
  27. Follow a Catholic podcast. Learn more about the faith, saints, and more. Goodpods has a list of Catholic podcasts to help you get started.
  28. Limit your time on social media. Remove your notifications or don’t check social platforms after a certain time each day.
  29. Declutter your home. Having too much clutter can increase stress, encourage an unhealthy diet, and make you feel more isolated. Declutter a room or space in your home and work to keep it clean after Easter.
  30. Spend time in nature. Reconnect with God by going for a walk, visiting a nearby park, or doing a prayer walk at a retreat center near you.

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