What's New

Deepen your friendship with the Lord in sacred stillness and quiet through...
The Lenten campaign of 40 Days for Life is being held outside the Planned...
If you aren't able to pick up your CRS Rice Bowl at church this week, you...

Calendar of Events

March 2, 2022
Ash Wednesday
All Parishes
March 2, 2022 - April 14, 2022
CRS Rice Bowl Campaign
Nationwide
March 2, 2022
Ash Wednesday Collection
All Parishes - Diocese of Little Rock
March 3, 2022
Rite of Election in Jonesboro
Blessed Sacrament Church - Jonesboro
March 4, 2022
Immaculate Conception Men's Club Fish Fry
Immaculate Conception Church - North Little Rock

Give hope, words of comfort this Lent

Updated Feb. 12, 2021

Lent is the 40-day, penitential season of preparation for Easter. It begins on Ash Wednesday and ends with the Paschal Triduum. "Let us renew our faith, draw from the 'living water' of hope, and receive with open hearts the love of God, who makes us brothers and sisters in Christ," said Pope Francis in his 2021 Lent Message

We partake in Lent with prayerfasting and almsgiving. "The path of poverty and self-denial (fasting), concern and loving care for the poor (almsgiving), and childlike dialogue with the Father (prayer) make it possible for us to live lives of sincere faith, living hope and effective charity" the Holy Father explained. "In Lent, may we be increasingly concerned with 'speaking words of comfort, strength, consolation and encouragement, and not words that demean, sadden, anger or show scorn.” (Fratelli Tutti, 223) In order to give hope to others, it is sometimes enough simply to be kind, to be 'willing to set everything else aside in order to show interest, to give the gift of a smile, to speak a word of encouragement, to listen amid general indifference.'" (ibid., 224).



History and Evolution of Lent

The concept of Lent goes back to the beginning of the Church, but the notion of a 40-day preparation can be traced to the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. which used the term, "tessarakoste," meaning “fortieth” in Greek. It is believed the reference was meant to imitate the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert before his public ministry as well as the earlier examples of Moses (Exodus 34:28) and Elijah (1 Kings 19:4-8). 

By the end of the fourth century, a penitential season of 40 days had taken root in the Church. The Latin name for the season was "quadragesima," which means "40 days." The word "lent" is primarily derived from the Old English "lencten," which means "spring." By the ninth century, Anglo-Saxons were using the term to refer to the penitential season before Easter. Over time, the meaning of 40 days became tied to the practice of fasting during Lent. By the fourth century, in most of the West, it referred to the six days’ fast per week for six weeks. (Sundays were excluded.). Today, the rules are more lenient. See our Fasting and Abstinence Guidelines to learn more.

Another key aspect of Lent is its connection to those entering the Church through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) process. From the earliest days, Christians associated Lent with the sacrament of baptism, "since Easter was the great baptismal feast." Those who were preparing for baptism participated in Lent as part of their preparation. "Eventually, those who were already baptized considered it important to join these candidates preparing for baptism in their preparation for Easter. The customs and practices of Lent, as we know them today, soon took hold." Today, bishops worldwide personally welcome all those going through RCIA in their dioceses during the Rite of Election, a special service held at the beginning of Lent. Two of these events will be held in the Diocese of Little Rock this year. Visit our calendar to find one near you.



Lenten Resources

We hope the following resources help you get the most from your Lenten journey.

10 Ways to Deepen Experience of Lent

In addition to the traditional disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving during Lent, many perform acts of penance by "giving up" something, such as chocolate, soda or social media. As an alternative, we invite you to take up a practice that you wouldn't otherwise do. It may help you experience Lent in a whole new way this year.

CRS Rice Bowl

Through CRS Rice Bowl, we journey with members of our human family around the world, and commit our Lenten prayers, fasting and almsgiving to deepening our faith and serving those in need.

Fasting and Abstinence Guidelines

This explains when to fast and abstain and who should do this during Lent. For more information, see "Your questions about Lent answered," or "Fasting: The goal is a transformed heart" to find out the benefits and reasons to fast.

Lent 2021: Pray without Ceasing

This special section from Arkansas Catholic focuses on the importance of prayer and describes the most common forms of prayer and offers resources to learn more. This feature also lists stations of the cross and retreats to be hosted by parishes during Lent. Contact the parish for more information.

Lent for Children, Teens and Young Adults

We hope these resources, which incorporate prayerfasting and almsgiving, help youth deepen their experience of Lent.

Way of the Cross: Stations and Meditations from Arkansas

These online Stations of the Cross offer reflections from Catholics in Arkansas. They are accompanied by illustrations from indoor, outdoor and live stations at churches and monasteries across the state. Together the meditations and artwork show the beauty and diversity of God's revelation to humanity.

Welcome the Strangers Among Us

Bishop Anthony B. Taylor released this pastoral letter to challenge us to open our minds and hearts to Christ's teachings as well as learn the plight of immigrants seeking a better life in the United States.


What's New

Deepen your friendship with the Lord in sacred stillness and quiet through...
The Lenten campaign of 40 Days for Life is being held outside the Planned...
If you aren't able to pick up your CRS Rice Bowl at church this week, you...

Calendar of Events

March 2, 2022
Ash Wednesday
All Parishes
March 2, 2022 - April 14, 2022
CRS Rice Bowl Campaign
Nationwide
March 2, 2022
Ash Wednesday Collection
All Parishes - Diocese of Little Rock
March 3, 2022
Rite of Election in Jonesboro
Blessed Sacrament Church - Jonesboro
March 4, 2022
Immaculate Conception Men's Club Fish Fry
Immaculate Conception Church - North Little Rock