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What is Lent? A Night of Simple Eating and Digital Reflection

By | Lent | Posted on January 12, 2015

What is Lent? A Night of Simple Eating and Digital Reflection Crown of thorns displayed at St. Bonaventure Church in Paterson, New Jersey. (CNS photo/Octavio Duran)

Description: This program provides a reflective moment to kick off the Lenten season, or to take inventory on Lent so far and dive deeper. It is perfect as a stand-alone or weekly event.

Get Ready

  • Prep Time: Varies depending on simple meal recipe selected. Consult the CRS Rice Bowl Recipes to select a simple meal. Meals vary in prep time from 30 minutes to 24 hours — so pick one that looks delicious and fits your schedule! You might want to prepare some talking points or a handout on the country from where the recipe originates — see for info. Additionally, you will need to set up the room so that there are tables and chairs for participants to sit in small groups with enough pieces of paper and markers for each individual.
  • Volunteers Needed: You might consider assigning different simple meal recipes to different volunteers to bring to the event. You might also invite volunteers to help facilitate discussion at the tables.
  • Supplies: TV that can be hooked up to a computer/play YouTube videos; wireless connection; participants should have their smart phones or tablets handy; any ingredients called for in the recipes if preparing on site; silverware and plates; large Post-It notes or paper that can be hung on the walls; optional handouts on featured recipe country to be compiled from the CRS website.
  • Reserve the Space: You will need a space with A/V so that you can play YouTube videos for the entire room to see. Be sure the room has reliable wireless Internet available as well. The space needs to have tables and chairs for the group. If you are prepping food on-site, you will also need a fully equipped kitchen.
  • Ideal Group Size: Best for 12 to 30 people, but doable with any number.
  • Who is this for? Young adults, married and single, and university students.
  • When is a good time for this? This is a great event to have as a simple supper, so it is best as an evening in a community hall on a day that has proven open for your group.
  • Publicize the Program:
    • Never underestimate the power of announcements! Make them after Mass, place them in the bulletin and if you have an e-mail list, use it.
    • Social media is another great place: Facebook, Twitter, etc.
    • We have prepared a brief What is Lent? sizzle reel that can be easily shared to help people begin their reflection. (You might also share your own What is Lent? videos if you have made them ahead of time!)

Prayer for Program Planner: God of all people, I offer you this moment in my Lenten journey. May this moment — like all moments — serve to open new avenues into your way of love, and may I be a worthy carrier of your message to those whom you have placed in my company. Amen.

Community Building: The goal of the entire program is to bring participants together to ask the question: What is Lent to ME? And while the answer may be deeply personal, the way to arrive at that answer happens in conversation, in community. Participants share a simple meal together (made from recipes from foreign countries) and think about what simplicity has to do with their own personal faith journeys. Participants watch a brief video(s) where popular Catholic personalities answer the question for themselves — and then the group discusses. Lent is a personal journey that happens in community.

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