Friday, April 11, 2014 at 3:22 PM
Watch as Bishop Gregory Hartmayer delivers his Easter message. The "Quick Links" page has a powerful video from Pope Francis; "Heaven Is For Real" trailer is there, too!
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Turn Your Lent Upside Down

by Lorene Hanley Duquin

Ask Catholics what they’re doing for Lent this year, and you’re likely to hear, “Giving up chocolate … or potato chips … or ice cream … or anything else that we really love but isn’t all that great for us to eat!

Lent has traditionally been a time for self-sacrifice, repentance and conversion of heart. But this year, instead of giving up something, why not do something positive to bolster your own spiritual life, strengthen the spiritual lives of your family members, and make the world a better place?

Sound interesting? Here are some suggestions

• Slow down! Set aside 10 minutes a day for silent prayer or meditation. It will boost your energy level and your spirit.
• Read a good book. You could choose the life of a saint, a book written by a saint, a spiritual how-to, an inspirational book or one of the pope’s new books. Check the Our Sunday Visitor website for suggestions.
• Promise yourself that you will go out of your way to do something nice for someone else every day.

• Attend a Lenten lecture together. It will give you something new to talk about!
• Make a Lenten resolution to pray together once a day. Even if it’s just a daily Our Father or Hail Mary, it will unite the two of you in prayer.
• Volunteer together to help out on a project in your parish. Whether it’s the parish fish fry, cleaning the church or helping with the parish food drive, it will give you a chance to work together on a project that will benefit others.
• Decide together how much you can afford to give to Catholic Charities this year.

• Take the entire family to Mass to receive ashes on Ash Wednesday.
• Make a Lenten resolution to let each family member mention one person or problem that they would like to pray for in a special way at dinnertime each evening.
• Teach your children the background and the real meaning of special days that fall during Lent: St. Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14), St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) and the feast of St. Joseph (March 19). Then celebrate the days with traditional Catholic food and customs.
• Turn off the television after dinner and spend some quality family time reading books or talking about the values that are really important in your life.
• Take the kids grocery shopping once a week for the poor. Then let them help you bring the canned goods and non-perishable items to your parish food pantry or to the local food bank.
• Clean out closets and toys. Donate gently-used items to the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

• Let your children light a candle at church each week during Lent for people throughout the world who are sick or hungry.
• Teach your children to offer up their hurts and disappointments for children throughout the world who are suffering.
• Pray for world peace.

This article comes to you from Take Out (Our Sunday Visitor) courtesy of your parish or diocese.

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A resource that offers insightful, faith-filled solutions for real life issues and creative ideas for living out your Catholic faith


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