Christianity, Religion

Catholic Culture: 2021 Lenten Check In

Catholic Culture: 2021 Lenten Check In

It is Laetare Sunday, the day priests wear rose, and about halfway through Lent so I thought it would be a good time to see how I’m doing on my goals. Mostly lukewarm this year to be honest. . .

Right before Lent I subscribed to the blog Catholic All Year liturgical boxes & received the first one, about Lent, on Mardi Gras (the day before Ash Wednesday). Perfect timing!!! First off, I can attest that this box is absolutely worth the price ($64.99 billed every 3 weeks + $5 shipping for each seasonal box) & I will use the items in it years from now. I put up the prints, placed the “crown of thorns” and nails on our dining room table, & used the burlap as a runner on our coffee table. I am saving the purple cloth to cover our crucifixes on Palm (Passion) Sunday.

*Note: this is not a sponsored post & I get zero kick back from Kendra Tierney. I am definitely not that cool of a groupie.

I am now eagerly awaiting the next box, for the Triduum (evening of Holy Thursday-Easter Vigil), but this box covered all of Holy Week. This box includes:
  • Holy Week Timeline Print
  • Palm (a real one)
  • Holy Week House Cleaning Checklist
  • Mary of Bethany Nard Oil
  • 30 “Silver (aka Chocolate) Coins for Spy Wednesday
  • Tenebrae Candle Holder & 100 Beeswax Candles for Holy Thursday
  • Chrism Balm
  • Tantum Ergo Song Print for Holy Thursday
  • Hot Cross Buns Recipe Card for Good Friday
  • Divine Mercy Novena Booklet
  • Fried Catfish Recipe Card
  • All Natural (flowers & spices) Egg Dying Kit

What I set out to do this Lent:

  • Our church has a 4:30 pm Ash Wednesday service outside & then off to Sushi Pop (I am going to have to get creative with the whole no-raw-fish-because-I’m-pregnant & no-meat-because-I’m-Catholic conundrum lol).
  • Not only are we going to mass every Sunday & I am also still using my Every Sacred Sunday Journal to get the most out of it.
  • The Mushroom Soup recipe I use every year is from a Hobbit cookbook (yes, you read that right!) but it’s basically vegetable broth + whatever spices you want + mushrooms + scallions
  • Ridding the house of sweets: Officially, you do not have to give up sweets anymore but I like to. Traditionally Catholics did not eat eggs, dairy, sugar, meat, butter and pretty much anything yummy for 40 days. Now we don’t do ALL that. But basically we do not do any dessert, cut back on adding sugar to drinks (coffee & tea), and loosen up on anything that feels like a treat. . .like eating the whole box of Cheez-Its in one sitting.
  • Giving up something: I am not terrible with social media but I would like to loosen up how much I am on it (& I made a 2021 goal to spend less than an average of 1.5 hours on my phone each day). I have decided give up all social media from my phone (probably only going on on Sunday).
  • Doing something good: In addition to our monthly donations to my school’s food pantry, I try to cut back on all unnecessary spending (like my $3 coffee drinks as a reward for grocery shopping lol) and save that money to give to charity. This year I am specifically going to give to local pregnancy centers that help women in distress/low income/no insurance. Figured “pregnant women helping pregnant women” is a nice theme for me for Len (plus I think this is more helpful to the whole-life/pro-life movement that stupid legislation that targets women’s healthcare).
  • Adding a daily prayer: I currently say the Memorare every time I wash my hands (it takes about 20 seconds to say & it is perfect handwashing time!). I am also going to use the Lenten subscription box I ordered from Kendra Tierney at Catholic All Year blog to open me up a new prayer to add specifically for Lent.
  • Meatless Fridays: We don’t usually cook on Fridays (it’s our leftover day) so I will make sure to make a meatless meal on Thursday and at least one other day during Lent to make sure it is an intentional act. However, I do add in more meatless meals during Lent in general.
  • Stations of the Cross on Fridays: I love group stations of the cross but last year they were obviously canceled. I’d like to buy/make/use something to do stations at home so that I am prepared if we ever can’t go to the church on a Friday evening. I love the idea presented in the Catholic All Year blog of a “soup and stations” night with friends all bringing a meatless soup/meal and doing the stations together in the backyard. . .maybe next year!)

How I’m doing this Lent:

  • Will always forgets when it’s Ash Wednesday & he had tennis practice until 5pm :/ so we went to the 6pm mass & this is the first year we did not go to Sushi Pop to break our his fast. They don’t have outdoor eating and we were not comfortable with COVID, so we got take out on our way home from mass from anther sushi joint (no, I did not get any raw fish due to being pregnant).
  • Not only am I going to mass every Sunday & I am also still using my Every Sacred Sunday Journal to get the most out of it.
  • Probably the best mushroom soup I have ever made for Ash Wednesday, adapted from the Hobbit cookbook
  • Ridding the house of sweets: ok so this is the first year I have ever done the you-get-to-break-your-Lenten-fast-on-Sunday thing and I’m unsure about it. On one hand I don’t feel we do anything austere enough to merit a Sunday break, on the other hand it helps to keep Sundays set apart. However, I can say *this* year I feel it is has been very good for us. I am also adding the two Lenten Solemnities to our liturgical living this year. It only makes sense that if we are going to try to live out the mortifications more, we can and should, live out the feasts too.
  • Giving up something: so far I’m loving my social media fast & thinking about how to incorporate this going forward. Becoming a mom this year is also making me want to develop the habit of stepping away from my phone more.
  • Doing something good: I wasn’t as good as I wanted to be on spending less on myself & groceries, but I was able to make a mid-Lent $40 donation to our church’s walk-a-thon team at the “Orlando Laps for Life” to raise money for an ultrasound machine at a pregnancy center that serves low income women. I plan on a second donation at the end of Lent to another organization that helps pregnant women.
  • Adding a daily prayer: this was a total “failure.” I was thinking of adding a daily Angelus but my work schedule just makes this at noon impossible, then I was going to add it at 6am but that was a bust since I am usually trying to rush out of the house by 6:15am. I found a podcast “Pray More Novenas” & hope to use that to remind me to do a litany/novena/prayer for the Solemnities of St. Joseph & the Annunciation. Gotta love modern technology sometimes!
  • Meatless Fridays: I actually really didn’t like that Friday’s was our leftover day for Lent. It made the meatless-friday thing feel less intentional and more accidental. However, Friday being leftovers has made my weekly meal planning better so there’s that. I tried to make sure my Thursday meals were intentional for Lent (not just meatless but frugal). My favorite Cuban Lenten tradition, bacalao frito (fried cod), takes a while so I made it on Sunday instead.
  • Stations of the Cross on Fridays: first week this was a total fail, like I just forgot completely that this was/is/should be a goal of mine. But week 2 I found the podcast from the United States Catholic Bishop Conference & they have a Stations of the Cross episode! Although not the *most* pious thing I could do, I popped this baby in on my way to work on Friday & then listened to classical music after. Hey, it’s better than nothing!


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