Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Ash Wednesday letter to my First Communion families.

Lent is here!
This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday. Ashes available at Mass 8:30 am and 5:15 Pm or at a service at 3:30 pm. It is a day of Fast for everyone 18 to 59 years old. Children could learn by having a simpler meal. If snacks are necessary they could also be simple.It is also a day of Abstainence as are ALL the Fridays of Lent. This means having no meat for anyone 14 to 65 years old. Children can help pick meatless meals. (Did you know when the Friday rule –no meat on any Fridays- was lifted it was with the requirement that we instead make a different sacrifice of our own chosing to unite ourselves to the Passion of Christ?)
You may want to find a way know to make Mardis Gras, Fat Tuesday, a special one in your home.So what should little children do for Lent? Actually, helping them learn about sacrifice is a true service to them and their future. As adults we know it is work to give up things we love and yet we must do just that on a daily basis. By helping them learn to do without we prepare them to do so gracefully when they must.
Children may do better with a child size sacrifice. Let them pick a different thing each day or each week. Performing an act of Mercy, Corporal or Spiritual is often easier. If you give up chocolate can you donate a dollar to the poor to reflect what you would have spent buying the candy?
Try giving a visual of the good they do adding up. Place a grape vine wreath stuck with toothpicks on the table. For each good deed, extra prayer, saint book read they remove a ‘thorn’ from Christ’s Crown. On Easter morning let them find it full of silk flowers.
As these children are about to make their First Communion an appropriate Lenten gift to Jesus would be to spend time with Him at Adoration: every Friday 8:30 Mass till 6pm or at the Dominicans on Rt 5 all day every day. Or perhaps attending Mass during the week. (Shorter, weekday Masses are a great way to work on behavior or participation issues with little ones.)

Most important is to model having a good attitude about sacrifice. Let your child see its not easy for you either and there is value in doing what is difficult. Not to give you an excuse but its actually good for them to see we don’t always get this ‘Lent thing’ right all the time!Plan ahead having your family go to Reconcilliation before Lent is over. Making their second Reconcilliation while everything is familiar helps reduce the stress some people associate with a lovely Sacrament.
May the season bring your family great Blessings!
Mary Brazeau

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