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Ash Wednesday

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Lesson Overview

In the Gospel passage for Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, Jesus teaches His disciples, and us, about the how we should give alms, pray, and fast. These three practices have traditionally formed the pillars of Catholic Lenten practice. In this lesson, students will learn about the season of Lent and consider these three pillars of Lenten practice.

Lesson Materials

Gospel Reflection

  • Have students read the Gospel passage, or read it aloud to your students, and then answer the focus questions. You may have students answer them on their own or you may discuss them together as a class.
  • Review and discuss the correct answers when finished.

Activity

Have students complete the Handout B: Journey Through Lent (upper elementary version) activity. Then discuss the answers when finished.

Answer Key

Handout A: Gospel Reading

  1. Not doing righteous deeds so that people can see them.
  2. God our Father, who will repay us.
  3. Praying like the hypocrites so that others can see you.
  4. God our Father, who will repay us.
  5. Looking gloomy, like the hypocrites, so that others know we are fasting.
  6. God our Father, who will repay us.

Handout B: Journey Through Lent

  1. Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent. We receive ashes on our foreheads which symbolize the creation of Adam and our need for repentance and God鈥檚 mercy.
  2. Lent is the forty-day time period that leads up to the Church鈥檚 memorial of Christ鈥檚 Passion and Death during Holy Week and the celebration of His Resurrection on Easter.
  3. During Jesus鈥 time in the wilderness He fasted, prayed, and endured temptation to strengthen Himself for the work of salvation. For us during Lent, we are asked to prepare ourselves to receive the gift of salvation by repenting from sin, doing good works, and renewing our commitment to our faith in Christ.
  4. Those who will receive the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Communion for the first time and be welcomed into full communion with the Catholic Church.
  5. To care for the needs of others, especially those who are in most need, such as the poor, the sick, the suffering, and the outcast.
  6. Being in relationship with God, talking with God, asking good things of Him, being in His presence, and listening to Him.
  7. Intentionally giving something up or denying ourselves as a sacrifice to help strengthen our will so that we are better able to resist temptation and avoid sin. Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 (if they are healthy and able) are required to fast from food on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. When fasting, Catholics are permitted to eat one full meal and two small meals that together are not equal to a full meal, and should avoid snacking between meals. Also, Catholics 14 years-old and older are required to abstain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and every Friday during Lent.
  8. To reserve its use for Easter to joyfully acclaim Christ鈥檚 Resurrection.
  9. Purple, or violet.
  10. Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation

Reflection Question: Accept reasoned answers.

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