Equipping the Domestic Church/ISSUE 82/ 3.20.22

The Penitential Practices of Lent

Fasting is a penitential practice that helps us to distance ourselves from temptation. When you think of fasting, you probably immediately think of the Ash Wednesday or Good Friday fasts we observe. However, there are so many more things that control our time, and our lives that we could stand to fast from! Use this season to reflect on those things that separate you from time with God and time with the people you love. Do you need a phone fast? A social media fast? A streaming fast? Do you need time apart from certain vices that draw you into sins like gluttony, greed, or jealousy? During the season of Lent, self-reflection is a key part of the process. It is a time for us to grow, heal and repair what has separated us from God. It's a time to experience the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and to clearly look at your life and ask yourself whether you are turning away from or toward God through your actions. In this edition, we will take a closer look at Lent as a Penitential Season and provide opportunities to review the practice of Confession. The PDF below is a helpful guide to Confession if you are in need of a refresher on the Sacrament!


Join us as we prepare for the Eucharistic Revival in the United States!

Each year we make a sacrifice for Lent. Sometimes it is giving up chocolate or sweets, other times we may try to correct a habit we have fallen into. The Bible is full of instance where people sacrificed to and for God. In that same way, the Eucharist is a sacrificial offering. We do not celebrate for ourselves, but in order to glorify and worship God.

A common practice for many, is to attend daily Mass more often during Lent. This is a beautiful reminder that our worship of God is not limited to only Sunday. It also can help bring us closer to God in the Eucharist by celebrating in a more close-knit community.

No matter what day of the week we celebrate the Eucharist, we are always doing it for God. God is just so loving, he shares that glory in the form of grace with each of us.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says this about Mass as a penitential practice #1394 As bodily nourishment restores lost strength, so the Eucharist strengthens our charity, which tends to be weakened in daily life; and this living charity wipes away venial sins. By giving himself to us Christ revives our love and enables us to break our disordered attachments to creatures and root ourselves in him:

Since Christ died for us out of love, when we celebrate the memorial of his death at the moment of sacrifice we ask that love may be granted to us by the coming of the Holy Spirit. We humbly pray that in the strength of this love by which Christ willed to die for us, we, by receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, may be able to consider the world as crucified for us, and to be ourselves as crucified to the world. . . . Having received the gift of love, let us die to sin and live for God.

Photo by Sylvain Brison on Unsplash



Click on the link below for the readings that you will hear at the Sunday's Mass for the coming two weeks. This will give you a chance to prepare your heart and mind for full and active participation in Mass this weekend! For a Mass schedule in our diocese click on the purple button below.

Family Stories: Story Time with a Positive Message.

  • Are we Still Friends? By Ruth Horowitz
  • The Hardest Word By Jacqueline Jules
  • How to Apologize by David LaRochelle

Parenting Articles: Helping Kids Examine Their Conscience:


Write the words: LOVE GOD and LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR in two columns. In the LOVE GOD column, write ways in which our behavior can separate us from showing our love for God. In the other column, write ways in which our behavior fails to demonstrate our love for others. Once you come up with your two lists, talk as a family about the ways in which you can focus on doing better with those two important commandments from Jesus. Write out a plan for the remainder of Lent!



Priest & Penitent: How confession works
How do I go to Confession?
Most Common Problems I See in Confession (and how to fix!)

BONUS VIDEO: We saw this on St. Patrick's Day and thought it was fun to share!

How to say the Hail Mary in Irish Gaelic


This simple task with kids helps them to understand the practices of Lent and strive to complete them during the season.


Click on the buttons below to find Examinations of Conscience to use for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. These prayer experiences are geared toward different subjects as well as different age groups so that you can find one that works for you!


Play a board game that involves going back to the start, or second chances. Choose one that is in your family collection! Once you have played, use it as a springboard to talk about second-chances and connect it to our faith practices. God is the God of second, third, fifth and 79th chances if our heart is open to truly changing our ways and striving to live a holier life!


Feelings of guilt, regret, and shame can lead to accentuated stress, anxiety and even heart disease. The Sacrament of Reconciliation can not only be good for your soul, it can be good for your general physical and mental health! Asking for, and extending forgiveness can lead to a lightened sense of burden, and a better relationship with ourselves, with others and with God! Nothing is too big for God to carry, but it may be too big for you!

Word of the Week!

Seal of Confession: In the Catholic Church, the seal of confession is the absolute duty of priests or anyone who happens to hear a confession not to disclose anything that they learn from penitents during the course of the Sacrament of Penance


Do you ever find yourself in those moments where either you or your child has reached the boiling point and is about to engage in a lack of self-control? When you see this start to happen in either of you, pause and take a deep breath and start to count. You will need to gauge how much counting is required. Start with 100 and see how you do. Count backwards. Focusing on the counting and the breathing can help you to refrain from doing or saying something either of you regret. This will lower your stress level AND be healthier for your family relationships. Talk about why it's important to take a pause and think about what is about to be done or said. The virtue of temperance, or self-control is one that most of us need to work on!


  • What did you learn from the worst thing that ever happened to you?
  • What does it feel like inside when you get in trouble?
  • What does it feel like when someone forgives you or you forgive someone?
  • How do I know if God forgives me when I do something wrong?
  • What if I don't do my penance I receive at Reconciliation? Why do I have to do Penance?

Office of Evangelization and Catechesis

Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester

Debtor in Possession

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