Lockdown Lent Resources
Time moves strangely in lockdown. If you are working and homeschooling your kids or supporting elderly relatives, there may not be enough hours in the day. On the other hand, without the usual round of activities, you may find yourself with time on your hands. Weekends and evenings can drag. This year our Lenten resources are organised according to how much time you have. 5 mins a day? Check out a video on our online prayer course, or find the space for a daily snippet of Scripture. 15 mins or more? Sign up for the Jesuit daily retreat, or walk 10,000 steps for Cafod. One evening a week? Join a reflection group, such as the Churches Together Lent Course, The Poet’s Gospel, or Sr Hycinthe and the Dominican sisters as they explore Finding Hope in Scripture. If you have a whole day or even a weekend, take the time for a retreat in your own home. Have a look through our resources, and find one that will give you a challenge through these holy weeks of Lent.
Activities marked with ** will work well for families.
Preparing for Lent
Before we start carving out time for prayer and reflection through Lent, there are ways that we can live Lent 24/7. The Church gives us ancient practices of fasting, alms giving and penance. Go meat free (on Fridays if not the whole time) and give Lent a different flavour to the rest of the year. Create a Lenten prayer space somewhere in your home. Give alms generously – find a new charity that makes your heart sing, but don’t forget your local parish! Change your environment – maybe bring some religious images into prominence, or fast from fresh flowers. The deeper our Lenten observance, the more heart-felt our Easter celebration will be.
Watch Fr Mike Schmitz‘s great video on getting ready for Lent. Is giving up watermelon really enough?
Cook something new! Discover new meat-free and traditional Lenten recipes.
Create a Lenten prayer space in your home https://www.buildfaith.org/creating-lenten-prayer-space-home/
Read Ascension Press’s excellent guide on how to confess like an adult
Choosing a Lenten Practice
5 minutes a day
Watch a video or read a snippet from our diocesan 6 week prayer course: Pathways of Prayer. If you’ve never quite managed to get a regular prayer habit, or would like to go deeper in prayer, this Lent could be the opportunity for you. Can be self-guided, or would be perfect as a parish reflection group. Or join the diocesan group on a Monday evening at 7.30pm: https://pathways-of-prayer.eventbrite.co.uk.
Sign up for Dynamic Catholic’s Best Lent Ever programme and receive a daily email and video on the subject: It’s not what you give up, it’s what you become.
Reflect on the day’s Gospel with an intriguing piece of art each day. Written by art expert and seminarian Patrick van der Vorst, you can sign up for the daily emails at Christian.Art.
*Listen to some music:*
*Take up Bishop David’s challenge and read a few verses of Mark’s Gospel this year.*
15 minutes or more
From Loyala Press: An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. An adapted version of the Spiritual Exercises done over eight weeks, perfect for any individual seeking a deeper life of prayer.
Parousia: a fantastic new series of 10 sessions from the St Paul Centre with Dr Scott Hahn. Intended to deepen our experience of Mass through the Bible and helping to connect Catholics back to the Mass. Free only in Lent, so make the most of it! Would work really well to connect with some of those who have not been back to church in a while. Sign up here.
Knowing Jesus: a daily retreat from the Ignatian Spirituality Centre in Glasgow. Jesus was quite a character with a message and way of acting that was as counter-cultural in his day as it would be in ours. Going back to the roots of Christianity to the man who is its foundation gives a deeper understanding of what the faith is really about and a challenge for living. More information here.
*Home learning resources about Lent and much more from Missio.*
Listen to something
Read the Bible in a year with Fr Matt Schmitz’s podcasts. Unlike any other Bible podcast, Ascension’s Bible in a Year podcast follows a reading plan inspired by The Great Adventure Bible Timeline, a ground-breaking approach to understanding salvation history developed by renowned Catholic Bible scholar Jeff Cavins. With this podcast, you won’t just read the Bible in a year … you’ll finally understand how all the pieces of the Bible fit together to tell an amazing story that continues in your life today!
The Way of the Cross: Praying the Psalms with Jesus: free Audio from Ascension Press. Experience the way of the cross as you never have before. Rather than meditating about Christ’s journey to the cross, pray with him.
Pray As you Go – daily prayer podcasts reflecting on the readings. The website is worth exploring for a wide range of other prayer resources, including the examen, prayer for anxious and difficult times, and a whole lot more.
Walk with Jesus along the Stations of the Cross: choose a contemporary video version, Saint Pope John Paul II’s Scriptural Stations, or read Fr Denis McBride’s beautiful reflections, available from The Daughters of St Paul. *Here are printable stations of the cross for children.*
*Resurrection Eggs – a wonderful way of exploring the Easter story with children* http://lifeyourway.net/diy-ressurection-eggs-easter-story-book-printables/
*Support Cafod, get fit and put yourself in someone else’s shoes with the Cafod Walk for Water Challenge: 10,000 steps a day – done your way. Every day. For 40 days.*
*Wonderful printable colouring sheets for children and adults alike – not free, but worth it.* Available as a church pack to be distributed to all the families in a congregation.
One evening a week
Join an existing group, or even use the material for online sessions for your parish:
Join the Scottish Lay Network for a series of evenings exploring Discipleship for Artisans of our own Destiny ~ Preparing the Future addressing issues such as Climate Emergency and where we can find hope for the future.
Try the Echoes of God course written by David McLoughlin and produced by the God Who Speaks campaign. Explore how the Old and New Testaments echo each other in their preparation for, and arrival of, Jesus.
Lenten Retreat: ‘Finding Hope in Scripture’: join Sr Hyacinthe and the Dominican Sisters of St Joseph every Monday evening during Lent, starting on the 22nd February and for 6 weeks. We will discover aspects of the virtue of hope from 6 different Bible passages, so that we may grow in hope in these difficult times, and find ways to share our hope with others
Join the Carmelites at Boars Hill for live-streamed sessions each Wednesday through Lent, with the opportunity for individual and group spiritual direction. “Be Drawn to Christ” is a weekly Wednesday invitation to engage your faith journey. Whether you may have shrugged off, or never much committed yourself to, a regular time of praying meditatively – why not let this time be different? Let this mini-series accompany that inner emptiness, call it dis-ease within, that desires God.
Study An Introduction to the Old Testament with our very own Brian Purfield online at the London Jesuit Centre.
A whole day (or even a weekend)
Saturday 27th March: monthly Saturday Retreat at the London Jesuit Centre offering a time of reflection and prayer around a theme, through words of Scripture, poetry or literature, and visual images.
Worth Abbey is offering a selection of online weekend retreats through Lent and the opportunity to join the community for Mass and daily Office.