Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, a day of fast and abstinence. Lent is traditionally described as lasting for forty days, remembering the forty days which Jesus spent fasting in the desert before the beginning of His public ministry.

Repent and Believe the Good News

The Lenten season lasts for a period of approximately six weeks from Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer, through prayer, penance (including participating in the Sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession), acts of charity, and self-denial. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we receive the gift of God’s mercy and forgiveness. Its celebration should be an integral part of our preparation for the Feast of the Resurrection of Our Saviour.

Trócaire’s Lenten Campaign 2013

Click here for details of how you can get involved in this year’s Trócaire Lenten campaign which focuses on an isolated community in rural India. The community in Odisha, in the east of India, lives in real poverty.

  • 47% of people in Odisha live below the rural state poverty line of 28 cents per day.
  • Odisha has the second highest rate of infant mortality among states in India: 77 per live 1,000 births compared to the national average infant mortality rate of 57 per 1000 births.
  • The drop out ratio from primary school stands at 60%.
  • The most recent census in 2011 shows literacy rates in Odisha as a whole to be 74%.
  • The female literacy rate in Odisha is 61%, compared to 80% for males
  • 57% of Odisha’s population suffer from chronic energy deficiency due to poor nutrition.

But with Trócaire’s help, and working through their partners, the community is being built up and empowered to work together towards a brighter future. Because of this help they can live lives of dignity and potential. Trócaire invites you to be in solidarity with this community this Lent; praying for them and supporting them and communities like them in whatever way you can.

Friday Penance Leaflet

Penance arises from the Lord’s call to conversation and repentance and this new leaflet describes why penance is an essential part of all genuine Christian living:

  • in memory of the passion and death of the Lord
  • as a sharing in Christ’s suffering
  • as an expression of inner conversion
  • as a form of reparation for sin

Friday Penance goes on to explain the reason why penance on Fridays is important: “Declaring some days throughout the year as days of fast and abstinence (Ash Wednesday and Good Friday) is meant to intensify penances of the Christian. Lent is the traditional season for renewal and penance but Catholics also observe each Friday of the year as days of penance. The link between Friday and penance is extremely ancient and is even reflected in the Irish word for Friday – An Aoine (the fast).”

The leaflet suggests ways of fulfilling Friday penance such as abstaining from meat or alcohol, visiting the Blessed Sacrament or helping the poor, sick and lonely as well as other suggestions.

Click here for the text of the Friday Penance Leaflet.