What’s Your Lenten Tradition?

Operation Rice Bowl is a major Lenten tradition here at CRS and at parishes across the country. It’s easy to understand why. The cool rice bowl and Home Calendar Guide offer tangible ways to observe the season.

I have another Lenten tradition that started five or six years ago. A friend and I each give up something — the same thing each Lent. We check in before Ash Wednesday to make sure we’re both on board and then follow up from time to time to see how we’re doing. (He’s the one who inspired the tradition and he invariably does better than I do.)

Are there other Lenten traditions that you observe? Do you have a family tradition that really works for you or that you really look forward to every year?

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9 Responses to “What’s Your Lenten Tradition?”

  1. Mary Honas Says:

    We abstain from meat twice a week, Wednesdays and Fridays. We use the recipes provided by Operation Ricebowl, often revisiting recipes that have become family favorites. Balti green beans, nyoyo, gallo pinto and fried rice continue to grace our table once Lent has ended.

    On Holy Saturday evening we make the Resurrection cookies, reading the scriptures that accompanied it as we take each step.

  2. April Says:

    I recently moved from Cleveland to Orange County. The traditions are different. While I’m sad I cannot find anywhere that makes decent paczkis, haluski or pierogies, I’ve been introduced to pan dulce and ceviche during Lent. It’s great to be able to see how Catholics throughout the US (and the world!) observe Lent.

  3. Gay Davis Says:

    I often wish I was a cradle Catholic and had many family traditions that I could look forward to each year at Lent. I will have to start my own as a 2004 convert and an old maid who is 60 years young!

    I think the most wonderful thing about Lent, however, is that it does make me pause and reflect more earnestly on many things such as all the sacrifices that have been made for Christians, the many Catholics who are greatly suffering for their faith today, and the many people who are suffering in so many ways around the world–we are so blessed in our faith and in our nation.

  4. George Says:

    I’m nearly 65 years and have lost the traditions of my parents. We spent hours and hours in Church during Lent and now I’m lucky to spend a few hours. Today I went to Mass and got ashes. When I got home an hour later, the ashes on my forehead were gone? Do they have new kinds of ashes? But I would guess what I miss most is being an altarboy! I started at 4 years of age…right through high school and into the seminary. I miss being right in the “action”!

  5. Dan Thompson Says:

    I am 29 and have for the past 10 years or so used Lent as a real time of spiritual and physical renewal. While I was stationed in Iraq as a soldier, I adopted some small aspects of Ramadan into my Lenten observation. As Lent came around, my Iraqi friends were very interested that an American would fast at all in religious observation. In any case, Lent has developed into a time of early morning prayer, spontaneous self-denial (sounds harsh, but it’s simply denying impulse indulgences like snacking), eating only vegetarian meals, drinking no alcohol, avoiding sugar (like candy and sodas), and keeping a journal. This year my wife and I have added marathon training using “The Non-Runners Guide to Marathon Running” as a supplement to some small Bible readings. So this helps renew the spirit and body. As Easter nears, I really enjoy a sense of renewed spiritual clarity and strength that gets me through the next year until it’s time to renew again. Finally, when possible, an Easter hike along the wraps up the season. This is an initially tough regimen, but you learn to really look forward to it and accept it. Of course, there are many other aspects of it (like random acts of kindness, attending daily mass, and helping the poor), but the point is to depart from worldly vanities long enough to gain the discipline to know God through the noise of our modern world. Good luck!

  6. Barbara Says:

    Each morning, while on the way to dropping my son off at school i pray (he listens-teenager mode) a morning offering along with other prayers that pertain to the day.
    during Lent, i will again strive to have a family Evening Prayer. it’s never at the same time but when a certain moment arrives, I begin it.
    i also present the opportunities accessible to giving to those in need.

  7. Timothy Walsh Says:

    I usually abstain from meat on Fridays, and try to reduce meat use the rest of the week. With the idea of fasting and Christian charity, I keep a strict budget, eat one meal a day, and use the money saved from reduced groceries to donate to groups locally who are fighting poverty. I also try to set aside at least 8 hours a week for volunteering. With the economy the way it is, donating money and time is more valuable than ever.

  8. Helen France Says:

    I am the chair of my parish’s Parish Social Ministry. This is my third year attempting to present a Lenten Series based on Catholic Social Teachings. It can be frustrating trying to get people involved in justice. I wish more people would think along those lines during Lent. Our parish does very well I think re the charity/service part but advocacy is the difficult part.

  9. Richard Malaya Says:

    I work for a government Institution and my office is about 10km from my home.During lunch hour most of the officers at our institution can not afford to go home considering the distant and the traffic jam in our town.Most buy take aways foods from Fast food outlets at one of the shopping mall near our office.The food is mostly chicken,fish,beef,rice,fried potatoe chips and carbonated drinks making it difficult to make a choice in order to abstain from other foods.This lent I have stoped taking any form of carbonatede drinks and instead of buying from fast foods shops my wife packs a bottle of water and some food in my office bag.At the end of this lent I want to calculate how much I have saved from not buying take ways foods and donate the money to our local Hospice for the terminaly ill.This Lent I have also showed my wife how to pray the Divine Office as a laity.The other Lenten observations we have being practicing include Station of the cross prayer services at our Church every Friday,fasting and abstaining from meat on Wednesdays and fridays,praying the rosary as a family and attending Mass every day.This Lent I was privelleged to attend a day of prayers at one of parishes in our town.It was organised by the family ministry and the theme was God is Love.Two questions touched me most.These questions have help me to medidate and reflect during this Lenten period.
    1.Why is there so much divorce in our town/country where the major of its population are christians who claim to know praise and love God?
    2.What type of God do we believe in?The way we behavour, live and relate with one another determines/shows the type of God we believe in.

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