Yesterday afternoon I had a little free time, while the older children were working with their math tutor and the three little ones were all napping (a rare occurrence these days!), to make this year’s Lenten Calendar. I used the same documents I created last year, but this year I assembled it a little differently (similar to how I first assembled it back before I was blogging) so that each week could begin with Sunday.
Jesus rose from the dead “on the first day of the week.” Because it is the “first day,” the day of Christ’s Resurrection recalls the first creation. Because it is the “eighth day” following the sabbath, it symbolizes the new creation ushered in by Christ’s Resurrection. For Christians it has become the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord’s Day (he kuriake hemera, dies dominica) Sunday: We all gather on the day of the sun, for it is the first day [after the Jewish sabbath, but also the first day] when God, separating matter from darkness, made the world; and on this same day Jesus Christ our Savior rose from the dead. (CCC 2174)
- 1 – 22″x28″ White Posterboard
- Purple Marker
- Yard Stick and/or Ruler
- Printed Images and Text (Free Download Here)
- Scissors and Glue Stick
- Purple Card Stock or Construction Paper
Create seven rows of 3 1/8″ x 3 1/8″ squares for the 40 days of Lent plus all of the Sundays, with an 1/8″ border on each side of the poster board.
Label the Days of the week Sunday through Saturday.
Each day of the week has a special prayer intention for which we pray and fast:
- Sunday – In Thanksgiving for God’s Blessings
- Monday – For an End to Abortion
- Tuesday – For Conversions to the True Faith
- Wednesday – For our Holy Father and all Priests
- Thursday – For our Family, Godparents & Godchildren
- Friday – For Forgiveness of Sins in our World
- Saturday – For our Deceased Relatives
Add a Fish Symbol to each Friday representing the days of abstinence.
Title the top of the calendar with LENT: Pray, Fast, Give Alms.
Through prayer, fasting and alms giving, we bring Jesus into our lives, and commit ourselves to being united with him in His suffering, death and resurrection. Through this we also love and serve Him as we love and serve our neighbor.
Our calendar has a square for each day, from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. Special Feasts and Holy days during that period are decorated to represent that day. For example, we have a picture of St. Patrick on March 17th and St. Joseph on March 19th. These special feasts help break up the long Lenten Season.
- Each Morning for the Special Intention of the Day
- Daily Family Rosary
- Stations of the Cross on Friday
- Adoration Hour
- Daily Mass
When the older children were little I made or purchased stickers of rosaries, stations of the cross, churches, etc for them to add to each day we prayed the rosary, stations, or attended Mass.
- Take one item from the pantry each day for the poor
- Simple Meatless Meals on Fridays
- Personal Sacrifices I’m Offering Up for Lent
Toddlers don’t always understand the concept of giving something up for Lent. Instead of having our youngest children give something up we have them focus on giving away. I stock the bottom shelves of the pantry with appropriate food items that can be donated, and everyday the little ones choose something to place in a box to be donated to a needy person or organization. I fit this extra food into our grocery budget by serving simple meals throughout lent, especially on Fridays.
We are also choosing some things to offer up individually and as a family. I’ve left it generic on our calendar as “Personal Sacrifices I’m Offering Up for Lent.”
- Count the items listed for each Day
- Put corresponding Number of Pennies in the Rice Bowl
In Guiding Your Catholic Preschooler (affiliate link) the author says: “Playing with pennies is fun, and so is putting them in a piggy bank. So try combining the two… Almost every church has Rice Bowls for lent… Think of items in your home that you can count. Select something different for every day of lent and put this on your calendar. For example, after deciding to count all the doors in your house, take the child and count all the doors. For each item counted, give him a penny to put in the Rice Bowl. There can be forty or forty-five pennies each day. It can add up, especially if you have more than one child! After Easter, bring the Rice Bowl to your church and have your child give it to your priest. Explain that this money will be used to buy food and clothes for people who do not have enough money to buy their own.”
Some examples of things that could be counted include: shoes, beds, windows, chairs, tables, pictures on the walls, trees in the yard, rooms, light fixtures, books on the shelf, silverware, stairs, toys, dolls, etc… You can be creative! This is a great opportunity to teach the children to be grateful for all they own. It is also a perfect time to work on filling those 40 bags with items to pass along to someone in need.
Once again I created squares with a cross on one side (printed on purple card stock) to cover each calendar square, instead of the cut out crosses we’ve used in the past. My plan for this year is to write on the back of each square the assignments for the day – what/where we will be praying, a reminder to fast/take an item from the pantry for the poor, something to count for the younger children’s “Give Alms” and perhaps the extra chore options for the older children.
At the end of each day – after we complete our prayers, fasting, and alms giving for the day – we will place the purple cross over the square of that particular date on the calendar as we count down the days until Easter Sunday!