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Resources to enrich your Lenten journey

Photo of young adult receiving ashes during Ash Wednesday MassOur observance of Lent which began on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14, is a time of grace, renewal and conversion. During Lent, we are called by the Gospel to prayer, reconciliation and almsgiving, and by the Church to fasting and abstinence; worship, both personal and in communion with others, and works of mercy
The season of Lent lasts approximately 40 days and leads us into the celebration of Holy Week and Easter. During Lent, Catholics in the United States abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and on all the Fridays of Lent. We fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. 

Guidelines for Fasting and Abstinence 

Mass & Reconciliation Times in our Parishes

Find a parish on our website for Mass and reconciliation times during Lent and Holy Week. 

Lent and Holy Week at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew

Messages & Homilies


 Bishop Walkowiak's Lenten Message 2018


Bishop Walkowiak on Fox17 Morning Mix (Feb. 20) (Watch)
Read Pope Francis' 2018 Lenten message (| | ) (The Vatican) 
 (English | Español | Additional languages) (The Vatican) 

Fasting and abstinence from meat

Guidelines for fasting and abstinence (English | Español)
An Illustrated Guide to fasting and abstinence (Focus) 

Lenten Fish Fries & Soup Suppers

View a list of fish fries and soup suppers in our diocese

Lenten Recipes

Lenten meal ideas from Catholic Spirit (Pinterest) 

Prayer, reflection and reconciliation

The Light Is ON For You: An Evening of Penance - Thursday, March 15, 5-8 p.m.

On March 15, during the season of Lent, a majority of the parishes in the Diocese of Grand Rapids had a 
priest(s) available from 5 - 8 p.m. to hear confessions.
Rediscover God's grace and merciful love through the sacrament of reconciliation. There is no better way to prepare our hearts for our risen Lord, than to take advantage of this sacrament!
Learn more 



Image: 24 hours for the Lord 2018 graphic Pope Francis goes to confessionCatholics around the world in celebrate ‘24 Hours for the Lord’
3 p.m. Friday,
March 9 to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 10

Once again, the Holy Father invited dioceses and parishes to join him in participating in the initiative '24 Hours for the Lord.' This program, organized by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, is aimed at placing the sacrament of reconciliation at the center of the pastoral activity of the Church. Learn more
Lenten Events
Visit the Catholic Event Finder calendar to discover events around the diocese.
Prayer and reflection
Increase your prayer time during Lent by taking part in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Stations of the Cross, joining in a Lenten retreat, reflecting on the Scriptures and praying for others' needs.
Daily Lenten reflections from:
Franciscan Media | Loyola PressWord on Fire/Bishop Barron (English & en Español) | Dynamic Catholic
Scriptural Stations of the Cross - (English | Español)
Catholic Information Center (Lent/Easter 2018 Programs | Visit the CIC website)  

Almsgiving: Sharing the gifts with which we are blessed

Share what you've been given with those in need through the Catholic Services Appeal and special collections during Lent including the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) collection and CRS Rice Bowl. 
CRS Rice Bowl
Read Bishop Walkowiak's letter to parishioners (English | Español)
Through CRS Rice Bowl, Catholics put their faith into action. For more than 40 years, a simple cardboard box has inspired prayers, fasting and almsgiving. Instead of giving up something, through CRS Rice Bowl we receive a gift—a way to interact and fully appreciate the lives and experiences of the poorest among us.
Rather than give up, why not take up?
If you're giving up something for Lent, that's great. But think also about the possibility of doing something positive to bolster your spiritual life and make the world a better place. Look for ways that you can increase your knowledge of your faith, strengthen your spiritual life or perform special acts of mercy and kindness at home, at work, in your parish or in your community. (from OSV) 

About Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent

During the celebration of Mass on Ash Wednesday, the imposition of ashes replicates an ancient penitential practice and symbolizes our dependence upon God's mercy and forgiveness. The season of Lent lasts approximately 40 days and leads us into the celebration of Holy Week and Easter. During Lent, Catholics in the United States abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and on all the Fridays of Lent. We fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. 

Ash Wednesday & Valentine's Day 2018

This year, the largely secular celebration of Valentine's Day (Feb. 14) coincides with Ash Wednesday and some have inquired if a dispensation from the obligations to fast and abstain from meat will be given.

Catholics throughout the world recognize Ash Wednesday as the solemn beginning of a period of prayerful reflection and penance, as is evident by the large number of churchgoers on this day.

In view of the significance of Ash Wednesday the obligation of fast and abstinence must naturally be the priority in the Catholic community. Valentine's Day can appropriately be celebrated the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which also happens to be Mardi Gras, a traditionally festive time before beginning our Lenten observance.
(Resource: A/D of Chicago)