Lent already? How is that possible? One minute we’re celebrating Christmas, we blink, and it is Ash Wednesday. Somewhere in the blur of time we forget to fully enter into this holy season. Often we get so caught up in the day-to-day operations of meetings, phone calls, emails and Life Night planning that we forget to take a second to stop and think about where the Church is leading us.
Each Lent, we have another great opportunity to immerse our teens into the heart of the Church. We have such a gift in the 40 days of Lent. We need to walk with our teens through the desert of Lent and help them meet our Lord there. Our ministry should be a reflection of the changes happening in the Liturgy and be an invitation to fully participate in the mystery of Christ’s Passion, death, and Resurrection. There are a lot of resources that Life Teen has for you to being Lent to Life in your program. Here are just a few:
If your parish has an early morning Mass before school starts on Ash Wednesday, invite the teens to Mass. If time allows, have a light breakfast and explain the significance of the ashes and why Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. Encourage the teens to share with their friends at school what the ashes represent and why we are reminded of our mortality at the beginning of Lent. If possible, use the Life Night “Ashes to Ashes” early in the season of Lent to help the teens prepare.
Lent is a great time to teach teens new types of prayer. One type of prayer that would be especially appropriate during Lent is the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Invite the teens to gather right before Mass and pray the Chaplet together. Life Teen just released a Chaplet of Divine Mercy for Teens on DVD that would be a great resource to use. You could also challenge the teens to a 40-day commitment of prayer. The Life Teen book 40 More is a great resource for that.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is an important part of Lent, allowing us to prepare our hearts by turning away from sin. Encourage your teens to participate in the parish’s Reconciliation service. Have an examination of conscience specifically for teens ready to give to the teens there, or use the booklet Come Clean: A Teen Guide to Reconciliation. Also, invite your priest(s) to be available for Reconciliation at Life Nights or weekly bible study during Lent.
Stations of the Cross
Have a night of reflection where the teens walk and pray through the Stations of the Cross. Have a few Core Members and teens help by reading the reflection at each station. Check out Come Walk: a Teen Guide to Stations of the Cross as a resource for this prayer time.
Holy Week is the highest time in our Church. It is packed full with opportunities to fully enter into the Easter Season. If possible, have a Life Night on Palm Sunday that explains the Triduum. There is a Life Night called “UUM” in the free resource section of this website. At the end of the night, pass out your parish’s Holy Week schedule.
By incorporating the liturgical seasons into your ministry we give the teens a unique opportunity to fully participate in the life of the Church. Thank you for all the ways you are serving the young people of the Church. May God continue to bless you and those you serve in abundance during this Lenten season.