Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Lenten Calendar for Catholic Children


Update: You can find my revised 2015 Lenten Calendar here.

I've been making variations of this Lenten Calendar since our oldest was only 3 year old (for 11 years now!) inspired by an idea I found back then in a little book titled: Guiding Your Catholic Preschooler. (affiliate link)  I first posted about it here back in 2008 and have shared some of our more recent calendars as well. I just finished creating this year's calendar and thought I'd update the old post and share it again, along with my documents for anyone else who might want to create one as well.

If you are looking for something smaller, quicker, and easier, head on over to Pondered In My Heart or Waltzing Matilda.  They both have beautiful printable calendars, which I just finished printing for my older children!  :)

LENTEN CALENDAR

SUPPLIES:
  • 1 - 22"x28" White Posterboard
  • Purple Marker
  • Yard Stick
  • Printed Images and Text (Free Download Here)
  • Scissors and Glue Stick
  • Purple Card Stock or Construction Paper



DIRECTIONS:

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 Monday through Sunday.  

Each day of the week has a special prayer intention for which we pray and fast.:
  • 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
  • Sunday - In Thanksgiving for God's Blessings



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.



Cut out, place, and glue all the images for Ash Wednesday, the various feast days, all the Sundays of Lent, and Holy Week.

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. 



Add a Fish Symbol to each Friday representing the days of abstinence.


Hang somewhere it can easily be seen (and reached) by the children.


PRAY • FAST • GIVE ALMS

PRAY
  • 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.  I'll have to see what I can find for this year!


FAST
  • 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."


GIVE ALMS
  • 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.



In the past I would usually write down something for the children to count in each square at the beginning of Lent (see Give Alms above). However, I've found it easiest to just assign them each morning, that way I can easily incorporate specific areas that I want to work on decluttering. ;)

This year 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, and something to count for the younger children's "Give Alms."




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!


You can read more about how our family observes Lent here:
The Lenten Season In Our Catholic Home

20 comments:

  1. This is BEAUTIFUL. What a nice job you've done. I really like the calendar format, and putting Easter at the very end is a great idea. Thank you for sharing the documents!

    2014-03-04 13:58:40

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  2. Wonderful! I love your downloads, thank you!

    2014-03-04 15:57:05

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  3. Truly lovely Jessica! I like how colorful it is too. So many of these types of things are colorless or just so much purple. I mean, I like purple and I know it's Lent but the other colors of the feast days added in make it more appealing I think. :) I posted a Lenten Link Up today at my blog and I hope you'll add your link. This is a great resource.

    2014-03-04 17:18:29

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  4. Thanks so much, what a beautiful calendar!

    2014-03-04 19:29:41

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  5. This is a great resource Jessica thanks! I also wanted to let you know that I reposted the Jesus Tree symbols/readings on my blog along with new colouring page links. I hope that that's alright. I noticed many of your colouring page links have expired and since I was going through the effort of finding new ones I figured I share the information with others. Feel free to update your colouring page links using the ones I found if you like them :) Blessings! Josee

    2014-03-04 21:27:27

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  6. Jessica, this is so kind. Thank you so much for letting us use your documents. This calendar is beautiful!

    2014-03-04 21:43:08

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  7. What an attractive Lenten Calendar! Hope everyone is feeling better and that you all will have a very blessed Lenten Season. God bless! :)

    2014-03-05 02:09:57

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  8. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us! We haven't assembled it yet, but we will tomorrow for Ash Wednesday. My children are so excited! Thank you for all that you do, and may God bless you greatly this Lenten season!

    2014-03-05 04:41:27

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  9. Aw man, yours is always nicer than mine! lol

    2014-03-05 15:23:22

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  10. Sacrifice beans are always a part of our Lenten traditions also. This year I thought of a nice addition to them that I wanted to share. I printed this quote from Our Lady of Fatima saying, "Pray much and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to hell because there is no one to make sacrifices for them." and put it in a simple 4x6 black frame to set next to the sacrifice beans. It's a great motivator to make more sacrifices and a reminder of why we're doing them, and offers an explanation to visitors of what the beans represent. The jars don't look as 'lonely' on the table with our new framed quote sitting next to them :)

    2014-03-05 21:47:45

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  11. Hi Jessica! I was wondering where you found the beautiful images you found for making the calendar, and you also have some lovely pages in the lapbook picture that I would love to be able to find! :)

    2014-03-08 16:42:03

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  12. Thank you Jessica for another inspiring posting of a special Day...I have been searching for ideas for the Kiddles Easter Baskets and came across this Mass Kit and not sure if you have seen it....Blessed Day... Rosalie

    2014-03-20 14:14:00

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  13. Hi Jessica! Thanks for the printables! I made it yesterday....it's beautiful! If you can believe it, I didn't make the crosses and now when I go back to the link to scribd - it doesn't work!!! I've searched your scribd acct and the lent calendar isn't there??? I'm so confused! Can you help? Thanks for everything!

    2015-01-30 20:55:19

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    1. I'm glad you like the calendar! That is so strange about the document at Scribd… Here is the link again. I was just there and it worked for me. Let me know if it still doesn't work and I'll email you my document directly! :)

      2015-01-31 01:20:12

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    2. It gives me this ; https://www.scribd.com/doc/210460375/Lent-Calendar" and when I get to your user profile "Shower of Roses" I can download all of your documents, but not this one!!! urggg! if you could email me the link I was SO appreciate it! laurencaggeso@gmail.com I made the whole calendar, but not the crosses because I didn't have my purple cardstock yet. Now I do, and would love to print them out! Thanks for everything you do! I just ordered a brand new on ebay jesus tree like you have and am SO excited to get it and make it! God bless!

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    3. That is so strange! I'll email it to you when I have a chance to get back to the computer! And have fun with your Jesus Tree - you have a LOT of cutting ahead of you, but it's worth the work and so nice to pull out over and over again each year! :)

      2015-02-02 20:26:18

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  14. One of the 'my documents' links is broken - just a fyi. I always love everything you share, it give us lots of ideas and helps our Lenten journey as well, thank you!

    2015-02-17 14:39:43

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    1. Thanks for letting me know, Kathy! I updated the post. :) I hope you and your family have a blessed Lent!

      2015-02-20 07:30:19

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  15. Thank you SO MUCH for making this beautiful calendar available to all of us!

    2015-02-18 12:29:00

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  16. Very helpful and so crisp, simple and wonderful. Thanks for sharing!!

    2015-02-18 16:46:23

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