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Diocese of Reno

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📍290 S. Arlington Ave., Reno, NV 89501

Reflections on Lent - Family Focus

Marina Hedwall, Director of Faith Formation

How am I doing?

As we reflect on the Lenten season we examine our focus on prayer, fasting and almsgiving. We may also want to consider asking the question- how am I doing with this process? We often think we need to give up things during Lent, but we can add things as well to support our relationship growing with Christ. Lent lies at the very heart of our Catholic faith. We need to stay persistent in our efforts and rally those around us to seek joy in these efforts. Focusing on these traditional of prayer, fasting and almsgiving observances of will bring your family closer to Christ and may even discover new ways to add joy to others faith journey.


“Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”

~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Christ Lives Here

Move your family’s crucifix so it is near your front door (or whichever door you use most). It will serve as a daily visual reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

New Ways to Pray and Communicate with Others

This Lenten season, try out some different forms of prayer as a family. Start a family conversation by asking, “How much time do you spend with your best friend?” Have each family member, adults included, talk about the question. Then ask, “How much time do you spend with God?” Talk as a family about how to make room in your lives to talk with God.

Kids might enjoy praying to God in their own way. Allow an opportunity to have different members of the family offer a prayer or make a meal, do the dishes, or switch up chores.

Phone a relative or a friend you have not spoken to in a while.

Say a decade of the Rosary for someone you know that could use the extra prayers.


“When you fast, don’t look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.”

~ Matthew 6:16

Why Do We Fast?

While prayer and almsgiving are part of our regular Catholic observances, many people tend to limit fasting to the season of Lent. Why fast? Fasting is a spiritual practice and discipline. Its aim is to help us focus on God. By limiting our intake of food, we exercise self-control, discipline our body. Experiencing physical hunger also reminds us of our utter dependence on God and puts us in solidarity with those for whom hunger is not a choice, but rather a fact of life.

Fasting doesn’t have to be only about food. It can spill over to habits, practices and things that distract us from our relationship with God and others such as too much time spent at work or too much time on social media.

How could you add spirituality to you or your family’s life?



“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.”

~ Matthew 25:35-36

Dining in to Help Out

Calculate what it would cost to take your family out to dinner at your favorite restaurant on a Friday evening. Then make a simple, inexpensive dinner at home (see below). Use the difference to buy goods for a local food bank.

Meatless Family Nachos

Pile corn or whole wheat tortilla chips on a plate and cover with black beans and shredded cheese. Microwave for 30 seconds to one minute. Sprinkle with shredded lettuce, diced onions and chopped tomatoes and serve with a side of sour cream and salsa.

Shhhhhh … Share in Secret

“But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you” (Mt 6:3-4).

The Gospel of Matthew reminds us that we are not supposed to make a big deal about our giving. Seeking glory for these things defeats the purpose. Kids love secrets! Enlist your children’s enthusiasm for secrets by asking them to help you plan some silent sharing for those in need.

Current needs of our diocese to consider: Rice Bowl Program for Catholic Relief Services or Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada. 

Don’t be discouraged these next three weeks of Lent. Be courageous, surrender your fears, and trust that this process will bring even more joy as you celebrate the risen Christ, at Easter!