The February issue of Take Out include a poster that can be “taken out” of the magazine and posted on the fridge or a bulletin board at home. Using this poster as a guide, call families together for an evening of prayer, faith sharing and activities at your parish during Lent. As Julianne Wills says at the top of the poster, “Create more memories with your children this year so that ‘prayer, fasting and almsgiving’ become more than just big words…. Turn these three basic elements of Lent into deep, holy experiences for your family.”
Choose an evening this Lent (or a Sunday morning after the last Mass) and welcome families of all ages together. Gather families at tables and be sure to build in time for “getting to know you” introductions. This helps parents connect with other parishioners who may have kids the same age or find that it is fun to learn from parents with older kids who have already experienced the younger phases of adolescence.
1) Begin with Opening Prayer and Introductions
The Jelly Bean Prayer is on the Lenten Poster Guide in the February issue of Take Out. Make sure every person has a copy of Take Out. (Call 800-348-2440 if you need more.) In the center of each table, provide enough jelly beans of various colors for each participant. Before you begin, have each person take a jellybean in the following colors: red, green, yellow, orange, black, white, purple, and pink. While you read the prayer, pause and let everyone eat the jelly bean in the color that corresponds with the message.
2) Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving
Use the Lenten Poster Guide, encourage families to discuss ways that they will pray during Lent.
Talk about almsgiving and why, we as Catholic Christians, are called to share our gifts and treasures.
Fasting is a cleansing spiritual ritual that is an ancient as religion itself. Talk about why we fast during Lent. Ask each member of the family what they might have given up for Lent this year.
3) Break and Fellowship (Simple coffee and pretzels will suffice because it is Lent.)
4) Large Group Sharing
Welcome parents back from break and ask them to share some of their thoughts about the season of Lent with the larger group (as they are comfortable). Have they gained any new insights? Any challenges that should be discussed?
5) Closing Prayer and Sending
A Lenten Prayer
Fast from judging others; feast on Christ in them.
Fast from wanting more; feast on being thankful.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from worry; feast on trust.
Fast from complaining; feast on enjoyment.
Fast from negatives; feast on positives.
Fast from stress; feast on prayer.
Fast from anger; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from fear; feast on truth.
Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.
Fast from gossip; feast on silence.
Fast from fighting; feast on peace.
Gentle God, during this season of fasting and feasting, gift us with your presence
so we can be a gift to others in carrying out your work. Amen.
--Adapted from A Lenten Prayer by William Arthur Ward
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