Archbishop Eamon Martin has launched a new web resource and a Twitter and Instagram #LiveLent initiative.
The new project got under way on Ash Wednesday and will last through until Easter.
Speaking about the new initative, the All Ireland Primate said: “For Lent 2017 we continue to provide online resources to assist in our spiritual preparations for the joy and hope which comes with the Easter season.
“I encourage everyone to visit and avail of our online resources and to consider taking part in our #LiveLent initiative.”
The #LiveLent initiative will involve short daily suggestions shared on Twitter and Instagram based on the theme of Pope Francis’ Lenten message on how to best #LiveLent 2017.
These will include suggestions on fasting, prayer and almsgiving, which are the three pillars of the Lenten season:
*Prayer and scripture suggestions (e.g. prayer intentions including those of Pope Francis, prayers of intercession and Lenten prayers).
*Opportunities for penance and fasting in our daily lives (e.g. fasting from gossip, fasting from negativity online, giving up certain foods for Lent, availing of the Sacrament of Reconciliation).
*Suggestions of charitable acts (e.g. donating to Trócaire and other charities; donating your time by volunteering or helping out within your own family, school, parish; and behaving in a charitable way towards all those we meet).
People are invited to take part using the hashtag #LiveLent and are encouraged to share with their own followers how they are putting the themes of prayer, fasting and almsgiving into practice during Lent.
Lent is traditionally described as lasting for 40 days, in commemoration of the 40 days which, according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus spent fasting in the desert before the beginning of His public ministry where He endured temptation.
Archbishop Martin said: “In his message for Lent 2017, which I encourage everyone to read, Pope Francis invites the faithful to return to God with all their hearts, to refuse to settle for mediocrity and to grow in friendship with the Lord. The theme for the Pope’s message for Lent 2017 is ‘The Word is a gift. Other persons are a gift’.
“Pope Francis describes Lent as a favourable season for deepening our spiritual life through fasting, prayer and almsgiving. He also describes Lent as a time for opening the doors to all those in need and to recognise in them the face of Christ. Each one of us meets people like this every day.
“Each life that we encounter is a gift deserving acceptance, respect and love. Pope Francis says that the word of God helps us to open our eyes to welcome and love life, especially when it is weak and vulnerable.
“Pope Francis also encourages the faithful to express spiritual renewal by sharing in the Lenten campaigns promoted by Church organisations in different parts of the world. I encourage the faithful to support this year’s Trócaire Lenten campaign which focuses on their work with communities vulnerable to natural disasters in Honduras.
“I also encourage the faithful to reflect on how to grow closer to God this Lent by our daily actions, thoughts, words and to consider what sacrifice might be made to achieve this.”
Local people can follow Archbishop Martin on Twitter @ArchbishopEamon, and check out www.catholicbishops.ie for the Lenten resources and for links to the #LiveLent initiative on Instagram and Twitter.
The Catholic Bishops’ Lent Facebook page can be accessed at the following link www.facebook.com/pages/Lent/506371582805408 .