Archbishop Eamon Martin launches web resources and encourages the faithful to #LiveLent 2017

28 Feb 2017

Archbishop Eamon Martin launches web resources and encourages the faithful to #LiveLent 2017

  • “Pope Francis describes Lent as a favourable season for deepening our spiritual life through fasting, prayer and almsgiving” – Archbishop Eamon
  • See for the Lenten resources and for links to the #LiveLent initiative on Instagram

Archbishop Eamon Martin has launched a special web resource, and a Twitter and Instagram #LiveLent initiative, for Lent 2017 which begins tomorrow, Ash Wednesday.

Ash Wednesday is a day of fast and abstinence. Lent is traditionally described as lasting for forty days, in commemoration of the forty days which, according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus spent fasting in the desert before the beginning of His public ministry where He endured temptation.

Archbishop Martin said, “In his message for Lent 2017, which I encourage everyone to read, Pope Francis invites the faithful to return to God with all their hearts, to refuse to settle for mediocrity and to grow in friendship with the Lord. The theme for the Pope’s message for Lent 2017 is ‘The Word is a gift. Other persons are a gift’.

“Pope Francis describes Lent as a favourable season for deepening our spiritual life through fasting, prayer and almsgiving. He also describes Lent as a time for opening the doors to all those in need and to recognise in them the face of Christ. Each one of us meets people like this every day. Each life that we encounter is a gift deserving acceptance, respect and love. Pope Francis says that the word of God helps us to open our eyes to welcome and love life, especially when it is weak and vulnerable.

“Pope Francis also encourages the faithful to express spiritual renewal by sharing in the Lenten campaigns promoted by Church organisations in different parts of the world. I encourage the faithful to support this year’s Trócaire Lenten campaign which focuses on their work with communities vulnerable to natural disasters in Honduras.

“I also encourage the faithful to reflect on how to grow closer to God this Lent by our daily actions, thoughts, words and to consider what sacrifice might be made to achieve this.

“For Lent 2017 we continue to provide online resources to assist in our spiritual preparations for the joy and hope which comes with the Easter season. I encourage everyone to visit and avail of our online resources and to consider taking part in our #LiveLent initiative”, Archbishop Martin said.

The #LiveLent initiative will involve short daily suggestions shared on Twitter and Instagram based on the theme of the Holy Father’s Lenten message on how to best #LiveLent 2017. These will include suggestions on fasting, prayer and almsgiving, which are the three pillars of the Lenten season:

  • Prayer and scripture suggestions (e.g. prayer intentions including those of Pope Francis, prayers of intercession and Lenten prayers).
  • Opportunities for penance and fasting in our daily lives (e.g. fasting from gossip, fasting from negativity online, giving up certain foods for Lent, availing of the Sacrament of Reconciliation).
  • Suggestions of charitable acts (e.g. donating to Trócaire and other charities; donating your time by volunteering or helping out within your own family, school, parish; and behaving in a charitable way towards all those we meet).

People are invited to take part using the hashtag #LiveLent and are encouraged to share with their own followers how they are putting the themes of prayer, fasting and almsgiving into practice during Lent.


Notes for Editors

  • Archbishop Eamon Martin is Archbishop of Armagh and Chair of the Communications Council of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference. Follow Archbishop Martin on Twitter @ArchbishopEamon.
  • See for the Lenten resources and for links to the #LiveLent initiative on Instagram and Twitter.  The Catholic Bishops’ Lent Facebook page can be accessed at the following link  The Lenten resources available on are:
  • Pope Francis’ message for Lent on the theme “The Word is a gift. Other persons are a gift’
  • Lenten tweets from Pope Francis
  • Lenten reflections and Pastoral Letters from bishops
  • Prayers for Lent
  • Suggestions on observing Friday Penance during Lent
  • Explanations of Lent and Lenten practices
  • Events taking place in parishes and dioceses across Ireland during Lent
  • Details of Trócaire’s Lenten Campaign for 2017
  • The liturgical season of Lent:

Lent is the most solemn season for the Catholic Church and it culminates in the high-point of our liturgical calendar: Easter Sunday. For the believer Lent is the time of preparation for Easter. Through prayer, penance (including participating in the Sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession), acts of charity and self-denial we are called to renewal of our Christian life in preparation for Easter.

The Stations of the Cross, a devotional commemoration of Christ’s carrying the Cross and of His execution, are often observed. As well as giving something up it is becoming more common to take something up as well and this may include taking time to volunteer, or spending more time in prayer.

Fasting and Penance
Penance is an essential part of the lives of all Christ’s faithful. It arises from the Lord’s call to conversation and repentance. Christians do penance: in memory of the Passion and death of our Lord; as a sharing in Christ’s suffering; as an expression of inner conversion; as a form of reparation for sin. The faithful are asked to renew their practice of Friday Penance by undertaking some of the following:
– abstain from meat or some other food
– make a special effort to participate in Mass on Fridays (in addition to Sunday)
– make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament
– abstain from alcoholic drink or smoking
– make a special effort to spend time together in family prayer
– make the Stations of the Cross
– fast from all food for a longer period than usual and give what is saved to the needy
– help someone who is sick, old or lonely.

Traditionally during Lent many of the faithful commit to fasting or giving up certain types of luxuries as a form of penitence, the money saved from this can be donated to charity, for example, contributing to the charity Trócaire box.      

For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444