“I encourage the faithful to reflect during this Lenten season on how to grow closer to God by our daily actions, thoughts, words and to consider what sacrifice might be made to achieve this.” – Archbishop Eamon
See catholicbishops.ie for the Lenten resources and for links to the #LiveLent initiative on Instagram and Twitter
Archbishop Eamon Martin has launched a special web resource, and a Twitter and Instagram #LiveLent initiative, for Lent 2019, which begins on Ash Wednesday 6 March.
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 2019, which I encourage everyone to read, Pope Francis is inviting the faithful to return to God with all their hearts and to observe the three pillars of the Lenten season: Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. The theme for the Pope’s message for Lent 2019 is ‘For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God (Rm 8:19)’.
“Appealing to the faithful to not allow this season of grace to pass in vain, Pope Francis says that if, ‘the Lent of the Son of God ‘was an entry into the desert of creation to make it become again that garden of communion with God that it was before the original sin, Christians today are invited to embody the paschal mystery more deeply and concretely in their personal, family and social lives, above all by fasting, prayer and almsgiving.’
“Fasting, the Pope says, means turning away from the temptation to ‘devour’ everything to satisfy our voracity; Prayer teaches us to abandon idolatry and the self-sufficiency of our ego; Almsgiving or charity, whereby we escape from the insanity of hoarding everything for ourselves in the illusory belief that we can secure a future that does not belong to us.
“Pope Francis tells us that if we follow this journey it ‘is possible to rediscover the joy of God’s plan for creation and for each of us, which is to love him, our brothers and sisters, and the entire world, and to find in this love our true happiness.’
“The path to Easter, therefore, demands that ‘we renew our faces and hearts as Christians through repentance, conversion and forgiveness’ the Pope said pointing out that it is a call that involves the whole of creation.
“I encourage the faithful to reflect during this Lenten season on how to grow closer to God by our daily actions, thoughts, words and to consider what sacrifice might be made to achieve this. I also encourage the faithful to support this year’s Trócaire Lenten campaign which focuses on their work with communities in Guatemala, Lebanon and Uganda.
“For Lent 2019 we are providing online resources, including the message of Pope Francis for Lent 2019, to assist our spiritual preparations for the joy and hope which comes with the Easter season. I encourage everyone to avail of our online resources and to take 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 2019. These will include suggestions on fasting, prayer and almsgiving, which are the three pillars of the Lenten season; prayer and scripture suggestions; 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).
Everyone is 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.
- See iefor the Lenten resources and for links to the #LiveLent initiative on Instagram and Twitter.
- 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