When we were in high school, the husband and I met in our community chapel. He was an altar boy, I was a choir member and we were both Legionaries (Legion of Mary). Because we were very active in church activities back then, we called ourselves taong simbahan (church people). Probably because of this, we tried to be devout Catholics as individuals and as a family when we became one.
When it was time for our son to go to school, we enrolled him to Catholic schools from preschool up to the present. However, come to think of it, we have not pushed him as hard as our parents have when it came to religion. It was only recently when he was introduced to Catholic practices other than the regular Sunday masses. This 40-item Lenten Checklist for Kids is my small way to make him and other kids out there to be closer to our Creator, and in no other better time than now, the season of Lent.
Since children below 15 years old are not yet allowed outside, we heard a virtual mass earlier today for Ash Wednesday, but not before we burned our very own palms. One of our homeschool coaches shared a prayer to bless the ash that our family can use in the mass. The priest’s homily was about how the ash reminds us not only how we came from ash and to ash we will return but also, what Lent is about.
According to the priest, ASH as an acronym stood for Alms giving, Sacrifice and Service and Humility.
However, I would like to change Humility to Holiness, not only because humility is already a virtue in sacrifice and service, but also since Holiness or engaging in prayer and sacraments is also a hallmark of Lent. Am I right?
This list consists of 40 activities which, I think, can be done, with proper planning and help from parents, each in the 40 days of Lent. Although items can be done and ticked in no particular order, it is ideal that Easter-related activities are done in the latter part in preparation for our Lord’s resurrection.
The first part of the Lenten Checklist for Kids aims for Holiness. Participating in these Catholic practices helps one to be more in touch with his or her spirituality.
|1.||Hear the (virtual) Holy Mass with your eyes, ears and heart open.|
|2.||Pray the Rosary and be thankful for your blessings.|
|3.||Read about Lent, what it is about and the practices, especially Filipinos, do during this time.|
|4.||Write your own Lenten prayer. Do this after learning more about Lent.|
|5.||Do a Lenten Craft. Create a cross, a crown of thorns or even just a coloring page while contemplating about Lent.|
|6.||Memorize a Bible verse. Choose a verse/s that applies to you today.|
|7.||Learn a worship song and sing about the greatest love Christ has given us.|
|8.||Learn a new prayer. It can be an old one, in Latin; or a familiar prayer but in Filipino.|
|9.||Learn about the life of a Saint. Knowing a saint and how he/she lived his/her life gives you an idea on how to lead a Christian life.|
|10.||Attend a retreat. Find a virtual schedule appropriate for your age.|
|11.||Examine your conscience. Read the commandments and look into your soul, or this article might help.|
|12.||Go to confession. Talk to God directly and ask for forgiveness. The Pope agrees as stated in this post.|
|13.||Watch the life of Jesus and reflect. How was He as a son? As a friend?|
|14.||Learn about the Church’s History. On Holy Thursday, the Church celebrates it birthday.|
|15.||Pray for the Pope and his intentions. Pope Francis is the leader of the Church. He needs our prayers for his well-being and for his intentions for our community.|
|16.||Read about the Holy Week. Why is it called Holy Monday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday?|
|17.||Participate in or setup your own Stations of the Cross and reflect. After reading about his last breath, kneel and pray to accept him in your heart.|
|18.||Read the Bible (Resurrection of Jesus). Find out why he is the Son of God and the Lord of all.|
|19.||Read more about Easter. What is the true symbol of Easter?|
|20.||Write your own Easter prayer. Give thanks to the Lord for saving us from our sins.|
Loyola Press is a good website and resource for prayers, readings, and crafts for kids. You may check our Art Videos page and adapt some to Lent. There are also YT channels dedicated to Catechism for Catholic kids.
The second part of the Lenten Checklist for Kids teaches them about love for their neighbor, for instance, alms-giving and service, whether they know them or not.
|21.||Donate old toys, those that you don’t play with anymore. It might give a smile on another child’s face.|
|22.||Donate old clothes, those that don’t fit you anymore. It might ease the cold or heat from another child’s body.|
|23.||Donate old books, those that you don’t use anymore. Another child is bound to learn new things as you did from it.|
|24.||Give food to the hungry. Share a meal with street children or the sons and daughters of your helper.|
|25.||Give alms from your savings. Hand it to the church or to an organization that helps the needy in your community.|
|26.||Pray for a family member: your parents or siblings. Ask them what they have been praying for and pray for it as well.|
|27.||Pray for a relative: an aunt, uncle or cousin. Say their names when you pray for them.|
|28.||Pray for a friend: may be your classmate or your neighbor. Include their prayers in yours.|
|29.||Pray for the sick. Whether you know this person or not, ask that his pain may be eased that he will go back to good health.|
|30.||Pray for your departed loved ones. Remember your Lolos and Lolas and other family and relatives who have passed away.|
|31.||Pray for the souls in purgatory, especially for those not remembered anymore.|
|32.||Pray for the forgiveness of sins of sinners. Even Jesus prayed for them, they may not be aware that they are into sin.|
|33.||Pray for a stranger: anyone you remember to have met but whose name you do not know.|
|34.||Pray for those you have wronged or for your enemy. Ask for a forgiving heart so they may forgive you.|
|35.||Pray for those who have wronged you. Ask for a forgiving heart so you may forgive them and have peace.|
|36.||Ask forgiveness from someone you have wronged. If you have a way to talk with them, do it, say sorry and be at peace with them again.|
Last but not the least, this part of the Lenten Checklist for Kids is about the value of sacrifice. Below 14, they may not yet be required to fast and abstain but this opportunity to have a taste of giving something up or doing something they hate gives them an idea of what the Lord went through to save us.
|37.||Do a chore that you don’t usually do. It may be something you hate or something you think is difficult.|
|38.||For a day, abstain from eating your favorite food. A day without junk foods also does good for your body.|
|39.||For a day, abstain from playing your favorite game or app. Look for something else to occupy your time like reading a book or playing with toys.|
|40.||For a day, completely hold a fast from screens and gadgets. It will also be a rest day for your eyes.|
As a parent or a family, you may always opt to try the tasks in the checklist yourself. Though it is called the Lenten Checklist for Kids, the tasks will undoubtedly feed your soul and bring you closer to our Creator, no matter how old or young you are, or what season we are in. May we all have a blessed Lenten Season! More importantly, may we all lead a meaningful life!