The Christian season of Lent is a period of preparation for the celebration of Easter.  

The word Lent is an old English word which means spring or springtime.  

The Season of Lent is 40 days long.  The forty days reflects the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness, praying and fasting.  In the Bible, the number 40 occurs again and again: 

  • The 40 days Noah was in the Ark
  • The 40 years that the Israelites trekked through the wilderness during the Exodus
  • David was King for 40 years
  • Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the Temple 40 days after his birth

So the number 40 signifies a time of preparation and purification. 

For Christians, the Season of Lent reminds us of the value and dignity we were given when we were baptised. 

During the Season of Lent, priests are reminded of their baptism, they prepare for Easter and they also use the time to prepare themselves to renew publicly their commitment in front of the Archbishop at the Chrism Mass which takes place a few days before Easter. 

The forty days of Lent prepare Christians for the four most important and sacred days of the Christian year. 

The aim of this short booklet is to give some encouragement and suggestions for celebrating the Season of Lent at School.  First, there are the actions of Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving.  Then there are three suggestions for Collective Worship: the Stations of the Cross; the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady; and, Daily Prayers for the last week of term. 

The three actions of Lent

Fasting

To FAST is to refrain from food and drink as a spiritual discipline or as an expression of sorrow for sin.  During Lent some people give up food they enjoy such as sweets and chocolates; other people give up certain things in their lives such as being impatient or talking about others. 

Some people find it easy to fast.  Other people struggle to fast.  If you don’t find it easy, don’t panic.  Try again.  Keep going.  During the Season of Lent, God gives us blessings to do our best. 

Prayer

To PRAY is to raise our minds and hearts to God. 

Saint Therese of Lisieux has some helpful advice on how to pray:  

“I say very slowly, the ‘Our Father’ and the ‘Hail Mary’ which console me, and provide divine food for my soul”

Almsgiving

ALMSGIVING is an old English word meaning charity.  ALMSGIVING is the giving of money or goods to a person in need.

ALMSGIVING and fasting are connected.  If we give up something for Lent, we can save the money and donate it to a charity.

If someone gives up fizzy drinks for Lent, that fizzy drink could cost 50p per day. 

So, 50p per day multiplied by 40 days of Lent =£20.00

If 30 people, a tutor group in school, give up a fizzy drink every day during Lent that would be: 

30 people X 50p per day X 40 days of Lent = £600.00

If a whole year group did the same that would be:

150 people X 50p per day X 40 days of Lent = £3000.00

Suggestions for Collective Worship: Prayers for Lent

The Stations of the Cross

The prayer called the Station of the Cross is a traditional Catholic Prayer retracing the steps of Jesus on Good Friday.  

In every church on the walls, there are images depicting the 14 stations or events as Jesus carried the Cross. 

You can uses this prayer in our School Chapel where you can find 14 pictures for the 14 Stations of the Cross. 

This prayer is usually used in Lent and Holy Week, but can also be used on Fridays during the year as a reminder of Jesus’s great love for us. 

You may wish to use this prayer for your Collective Worship with your Tutor Group.  If so, instead of doing the whole prayer one day, it could be used over several days.  For example, you could use two Stations of the Cross each for seven days. You are free to add your own personal prayers and petitions; you may wish to encourage the students to mention their own prayers also. 

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 

The first Station: Jesus is condemned to death

You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above.

Lord Jesus, I too have sentenced you to death by my wrongdoings.  May I accept your invitation:  “Do not judge and you will not be judged.” 

Our Father … 

Hail Mary … 

Glory be … 

The second Station: Jesus takes up his Cross

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me.

Lord Jesus, I wish to take up my cross with you daily.  Help me to bear patiently whatever comes my way. 

Our Father … 

Hail Mary … 

Glory be … 

The third Station: Jesus falls for the first time

He bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressor.

Lord Jesus, may the suffering you endured, restore hope to a fallen world, bringing healing and comfort to those who suffer. 

Our Father … 

Hail Mary … 

Glory be … 

The fourth Station: Jesus meets his Mother, Mary

“ … and a sword will pierce through you own soul.”

Lord Jesus, you willed that your mother should be there on your way to Calvary: give me an undaunted spirit to face up to life’s trails, as did Mary your Mother. 

Our Father … 

Hail Mary … 

Glory be … 

The fifth Station: Simon helps Jesus to carry his cross

Without beauty, without majesty we saw him, no looks to attract our eyes.

Lord Jesus, give me a generous heart to accept my duties and responsibility even when they seem too heavy to bear. 

Our Father … 

Hail Mary … 

Glory be … 

The sixth Station: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

He was despised and rejected by men.

Lord Jesus, let me not despise nor reject the poor, the sick, the destitute, the oppressed.  Make me considerate and kind to all people. 

Our Father … 

Hail Mary … 

Glory be … 

The seventh Station: Jesus falls for the second time

Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.

Lord Jesus, when all my efforts seem to fail, help me to trust in your mercy. 

Our Father … 

Hail Mary … 

Glory be … 

The eighth Station:  Jesus consoles the women of Jerusalem

Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.

Lord Jesus, you found the strength to console the women of Jerusalem despite your own sufferings; let me bring comfort to those in sorrow. 

Our Father … 

Hail Mary … 

Glory be … 

The ninth Station: Jesus falls for the third time

I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind.

Lord Jesus, whenever anxiety and fear cause me to doubt, lift me up so that, led by your truth, I may walk steadily in your way. 

Our Father … 

Hail Mary … 

Glory be … 

The tenth Station: Jesus is stripped of his garments

They parted my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.

Lord Jesus, sometimes I am too worried about what people might thing of me.  Put my heart at peace so as to serve you and my neighbour in freedom and in peace. 

Our Father … 

Hail Mary … 

Glory be … 

The eleventh Station:  Jesus is nailed to the cross

Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they do.

Lord Jesus, teach me to be forgiving and to readily accept the signs of love and reconciliation. 

Our Father …

Hail Mary …

Glory be …

The twelfth Station: Jesus dies on the Cross

Jesus cried with a loud spirit and yielded up his spirit.

Lord Jesus, your death brought life to the world.  Make of my life a source of joy, not pain, to others. 

Our Father … 

Hail Mary … 

Glory be … 

The thirteenth Station:  Jesus is taken down from the Cross

A rich man took the body of Jesus, and wrapped it in a clean line shroud …

Lord Jesus, you were taken down from the Cross.  When the upsets of life weigh me down, lift me up so that I may walk in newness of life. 

Our Father … 

Hail Mary … 

Glory be … 

The fourteenth Station:  Jesus is laid in the tomb

… and laid him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock.

Lord Jesus, you were laid in the tomb wrapped in the linen of compassion and love.  Instil into my heart, a deep sense of gratitude to you for being my Saviour. 

Our Father … 

Hail Mary … 

Glory be … 

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Seven Sorrows of Mary

This prayer has as its focus the seven sorrows or sadnesses of Our Lady. It is similar to the rosary, but instead of 10 Hail Marys, 7 Hail Marys are said each time.

This prayer can be used as a form of Collective Worship with your Tutor Group. You may wish to use one Sorrow of Our Lady each day. Encourage a student to read the scripture passage; ask a student to lead the Our Father prayer; and, ask seven other students to lead the seven Hail Marys. You might like to ask students to mention their own petitions before the Our Father and 7 Hail Marys or you may wish to discuss and choose 7 petitions that you and your Tutor Group can pray for each day, mentioning each petition before each Hail Mary.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The first sorrow of Our Lady: The prophecy of Simeon

A reading from the holy gospel according to Luke Lk 2:33-35

As the child’s father and mother stood there wondering at the things that were being said about him, Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘You see this child: he is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected – and a sword will pierce your own soul too – so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare. 

Our Father …

7 x Hail Mary …

The second sorrow of Our Lady: The flight to Egypt

A reading from the holy gospel according to Matthew Mt 2:13-15 

The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt and stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and do away with him.’  So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, left that night for Egypt, where he stayed until Herod was dead. 

Our Father …

7 x Hail Mary … 

The third sorrow of Our Lady: Jesus among the doctors of the Law

A reading from the holy gospel according to Luke Lk 2:41- 

Every year his parents used to go to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover.  When he was twelve years old, they went up for the feast as usual.  When they were on their way home after the feast, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem without his parents knowing it.  They assumed he was with the caravan, and it was only after a day’s journey that they went to look for him among their relations and acquaintances.  When they failed to find him they went back to Jerusalem looking for him everywhere. 

Three days later, they found him in the Temple sitting among the doctors, listening to them, and asking them questions; and all those who heard him were astounded at his intelligence and his replies.  They were overcome when they saw him, and his mother said to him, ‘My child, why have you done this to us?  See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you.’  ‘Why were you looking for me?  He replied, ‘Did you not know that I must be busy with my Father’s affairs?’  But they did not understand what he meant.

Our Father …

7 x Hail Mary …

The fourth sorrow of Our Lady: Jesus meets Mary as he carries the Cross

A reading from the holy gospel according to Luke Luke 23:26 –

As they were leading him away they seized on a man, Simon from Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and made him shoulder the cross and carry it behind Jesus.  Large numbers of people followed him, and of women too, who mourned and lamented for him.  But Jesus turned to them and said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep rather for yourselves and for your children.’

Our Father …

7 x Hail Mary …

The fifth sorrow of Our Lady: Jesus dies on the Cross

A reading from the holy gospel according to John John 19: 25-27

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.  Seeing his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, ‘Woman, this is your son’.  Then to the disciple he said, ‘This is your mother’.  And from that moment the disciple made a place for her in his home.

Our Father …

7 x Hail Mary … 

The sixth sorrow of Our Lady: Jesus is taken down from the cross

A reading from the holy gospel according to John John 19: 38

Joseph of Arimathaea, who was a disciple of Jesus – though a secret one because he was afraid of the Jews asked Pilate to let him remove the body of Jesus. Pilate gave permission, so they came and took it away.

Our Father …

7 x Hail Mary … 

The seventh sorrow of Our Lady: Jesus is buried in the tomb

A reading from the holy gospel according to Matthew Matthew 27: 59 – 61

Joseph of Arimathaea took the body, wrapped it in a clean shroud and put it in his own new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock.  He then rolled a large stone across the entrance of the tomb and went away.  Now Mary of Magdala and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

Our Father …

7 x Hail Mary … 

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Daily Prayers for the Last Week of Term

Here are Daily Prayers for the last week of term with Gospel passages helping us to move towards Holy Week and the Easter Holiday.  The Gospel passages which have been selected are meant to be a chronological sequence they are to help us to follow the Lord in the days leading up to Palm Sunday.

You may wish to read the prayers yourself, or ask students to do this.  After the reading of the Gospel passage, you may wish to add personal petitions or ask students to mention their own petitions.  After a few moments of silent prayer, the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be are said; you may choose either to lead these prayers yourself or ask students to volunteer to do this.

Monday of the last week of term 

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

A reading from the holy gospel according to Matthew Matthew 19:13-15

People brought little children to him for him to lay his hand on them and say a prayer. The disciples turned them away, but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children alone, and do not stop them coming to me; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.’  Then he laid his hands on them and went on his way. 

Personal petitions may be mentioned here; a short time of silent prayer.

Our Father …

Hail Mary …

Glory be … 

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 

Tuesday of the last week of term 

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 

A reading from the holy gospel according to Mark Mark 10:17-22

He was setting out on a journey when a man ran up, knelt before him and put this question to him, ‘Good master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’  Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.  You know the commandments.  You must not kill; You must not commit adultery; You must not steal; You must not bring false witness; You must not defraud; Honour your father and mother.’  And he said to him, ‘Master, I have kept all these from my earliest days’.  Jesus looked steadily at him and loved him, and he said, ‘There is one thing you lack.  Go and sell everything you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’  But his face fell at these words and he went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth. 

Personal petitions may be mentioned here; a short time of silent prayer.

Our Father …

Hail Mary …

Glory be … 

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 

Wednesday of the last week of term 

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 

A reading from the holy gospel according to Luke Luke 19:1-10

Jesus entered Jericho and was going through the town when a man whose name was Zacchaeus made his appearance; he was one of the senior tax collectors and a wealthy man.  He was anxious to see what kind of man Jesus was, but he was too short and could not see him for the crowd; so he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus who was to pass that way.  When Jesus reached the spot he looked up and spoke to him, ‘Zacchaeus, come down.  Hurry, because I must stay at your house today.’  And he hurried down and welcomed him joyfully.  They all complained when they saw that was happening.  ‘He has gone to stay at a sinner’s house’ they said.  But Zacchaeus stood his ground and said to the Lord, ‘Look, sir, I am going to give half my property to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody I will pay him back four times the amount’.  And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to his house, because this man too is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek out and save what was lost’. 

Personal petitions may be mentioned here; a short time of silent prayer.

Our Father …

Hail Mary …

Glory be … 

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 

Thursday of the last week of term 

A reading from the holy gospel according to Matthew Matthew 20:29-34

As they left Jericho a large crowd followed him.  Now there were two blind men sitting at the side of the road.  When they heard that it was Jesus who was passing by, they shouted, ‘Lord!  Have pity on us, Son of David.’  And the crowd scolded them and told them to keep quiet, but they only shouted more loudly, ‘Lord!  Have pity on us, Son of David.’  Jesus stopped, called them over and said, “What do you want me to do for you?’  They said to him, ‘Lord, let us have our sight back’.  Jesus felt pity for them and touched their eyes, and immediately their sight returned and they followed him. 

Personal petitions may be mentioned here; a short time of silent prayer.

Our Father …

Hail Mary …

Glory be … 

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 

Friday of the last week of term 

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 

A reading from the holy gospel according to Mark Mark 11:1-11

When they approaching Jerusalem, in sight of Bethphage and Bethany, close by the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, ‘Go off to the village facing you, and as soon as you enter it you will find a tethered colt that no one has yet ridden.  Untie it and bring it here.  If anyone says to you, “What are you doing?” say, “The Master needs it and will send it back directly”.’  They went off and found a cold tethered near a door in the open street.  As they untied it, some men standing there said, ‘What are you doing, untying that colt?’  They gave the answer Jesus had told them, and the men let them go.  Then they took the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on its back, and he sat on it.  Many people spread their cloaks on the road, others greenery which they had cut in the fields.  And those who went in front and those who followed were all shouting, ‘Hosanna!  Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessings on the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest heavens!’  He entered Jerusalem and went into the Temple.  He looked all round him, but as it was now late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve. 

Personal petitions may be mentioned here; a short time of silent prayer.

Our Father …

Hail Mary …

Glory be … 

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.