* Be sure to try the links to online activities in larger bold type .

The key to understanding the meaning of Lent is simple:


Catechumens are preparing for Baptism and

we are renewing our baptismal commitment.

Information about Lent

If Lent is 40 days, why are there 46 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter? Over the course of history the season of preparation for Easter Sunday has ranged from one day in the first century to 44 days today in the Roman Catholic church. Read more here.

Praying, Fasting and Giving

We need help controlling our passions and looking outward. This is why we use the practices of prayer fasting and almsgiving during Lent to prepare for our recommitment to our baptismal promises at Easter. We traditionally give up eating meat on Fridays during Lent.

* Watch this video about the practices of Lent.

Prayer is at the heart of our Lenten practices. Check out this video by Father James Martin SJ about prayer

Through Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl, we journey with members of our human family around the world, and commit our Lenten prayers, fasting and almsgiving to deepening our faith and serving those in need. The Rice Bowl offers many ideas and weekly recipes.

* Here is a YouTube about the purpose of fasting.

You might want to try a carbon fast this Lent.

Find some very practical and refreshing ideas for your family Lent.

Here you can find 40 Lenten ideas from great authors.

Stations of the Cross

The Stations of the Cross are a favorite Lenten prayer. You can find the Stations of the cross in your church.

* Learn about the Stations of the Cross found in you church.

* Pray an electronic version of the Stations of the Cross.

This version of the stations of the cross for children is printable.

Here is a version of the Stations of the Cross to use for your own meditation at the computer.

Lenten Foods

Pretzels are a very old Lenten food. When early Christians would pray they would cross their arms touching each hand to the opposite shoulder. Pretzels are formed in that shape from the leftover dough that was used to make bread during Lent. Because people abstained from ALL meat and dairy products during Lent, they didn't use milk, eggs or butter in making their bread.

You can read more about the history and making of pretzels.

* View the history of the pretzel here

You can try shaping and baking your own pretzels using Pillsbury Soft Breadsticks from the refrigerated section of your grocery store.

Hot Cross Buns are a meaningful food for Holy Week.

Hot cross buns, a European stable on Good Friday, are made of sweet, spiced dough with icing shaped in the form of a cross. They are iced with the shape of a cross to symbolize Christ's suffering and crucifixion. The spiced dough reminds us of the spices used to prepare Jesus' body for the tomb.

Originally Hot Cross buns were only be baked and eaten on Good Friday. The buns were commonly distributed to the poor, and even considered a blessing against sickness and house fires. You can make your own using a recipe from the web or use your favorite scone recipe.

You can read about Hot Cross buns here.

Do you remember this childhood ditty? Hot cross buns. Hot cross buns.

One a penny, two a penny. Hot cross buns

If your daughter won't eat them give them to your son

One a penny, two a penny. Hot cross buns.

* Listen to the nursery rhyme.

Lenten Calendars

A calendar is a good visual way to remind us of our Lenten journey and keep us mindful of the practices we have chosen to prepare ourselves for the Easter celebration. You can print off this calendar to use.

In Greece, Crete, Catalonia and other locations in Europe people use Lady Lent with seven feet to remind themselves to keep Lent. You can read about the traditions Lady Lent or print off a copy to color.

Catalonia - La Vella Quaresma carries a cod and a basket of vegetables.

Crete - Kyria Sarakosti has no mouth or ears and her hands are folded in prayer.

* Watch this video about the Orthodox Christian Lady Lent.

* Review what you've learned about Lent with this crossword.

or here's another online crossword puzzle about Lent for adults.

Click here to return to the Ash Wednesday page.