Lent 2021



Fasting, prayer, and almsgiving are the three traditional disciplines of Lent. The faithful and catechumens should undertake these practices seriously in a spirit of penance and of preparation for baptism or of renewal of baptism at Easter.

Below are some suggestions for you. At the bottom of the page are some resources for children.


Fasting—Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fasting. Catholics over 18 and up to the beginning of their 60th year are bound to the obligation of fasting. On these days, only one full meal is allowed. Two other meatless meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to each one’s needs, but together they should not equal another full meal. Eating between meals is not permitted, but liquids, including milk and fruit juices are allowed.

Abstinence—Abstinence is to be observed on Ash Wednesday and on all Fridays of Lent. On days of abstinence, meat may not be used at all. Catholics over 14 years of age are bound to the obligation of abstinence.

Ideas of other things to fast or abstain from during Lent:

  • Screen time and digital devices
  • Negative talk and criticism
  • Hot showers (In February and March, this can be an especially tough sacrifice. Then again, Jesus died on the cross for you.)
  • Non-essential shopping
  • Snacking
  • Music, radio, television
  • Take the worst parking spot you can find in the parking lot and walk the extra steps

Consider taking up something

Instead of giving up something, maybe try “taking up” something for Lent: letter writing, acts of kindness, phone calls to the important people in your life, prayer, make your bed every day, etc.

The Archdiocese of Boston has put together some great resources in pdf format. Download them here.


Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction During Lent

Join us Thursdays at Immaculate Conception Church for Adoration.

1:00–1:45 p.m.* and 7:15–8:00 p.m.

*Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction will be offered only when clergy are present. There may be a couple afternoon times when no priest or deacon is present. All evening times will have a priest or deacon. In the event that there is no priest or deacon, the church will be open for silent prayer time.

Stations of the Cross

Click here for this week's program. 

We will have in-person Stations of the Cross on Fridays, at 3:30 p.m. We will alternate the location among all three sites. We plan to live stream the service on our Facebook page each week. Remember all in-person attendees must follow all COVID protocol including wearing face masks at all times and maintaining social distancing. We will keep the recordings of Stations on our Facebook videos page throughout Lent for you to watch.

Feb. 19  Immaculate Conception (Program source https://stm.yale.edu/blog/praying-the-stations-of-the-cross-in-a-pandemic)
Feb. 26  St. Ann (Program source https://www.usccb.org/resources/stations-of-the-cross-overcoming-racism.pdf)
Mar. 5    Nativity (Click here for Word document.)
Mar. 12  Immaculate Conception
Mar. 19  St. Ann
Mar. 26  Immaculate Conception
Apr. 2    Nativity (Good Friday)


Virtual Lenten Retreats

St. John Seminary Lenten Retreat
Enter into the Lenten Season with reflections on the life and spirituality of St. Joseph. Learn from speakers such as Bishop Byrne of the Diocese of Springfield and from Fr. Donald Calloway author of Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father. You can register at www.sjs.edu/lentenretreat

Notre Dame Spirituality Center, Ipswich
Online and in-person programs are offered during Lent and all year. Visit their website to see the offerings and to register: https://ndspiritualitycenter.org/programs/

Monastery of the Holy Spirit
Here you can find a list of virtual Zoom retreats for 2021 https://www.trappist.net/virtual-zoom-retreats-2021.

Ave Maria Parish, Lynnfield
This parish is offering a Lenten retreat that has a variety of components. Folks can choose to participate in one or all of the offerings, including weekly online reflections and resources, meatless meals recipe swap, Zoom meetings, and family take-home kits. The retreat is free and open to anyone. Registration form: https://www.avemarialynnfield.org/form/lenten-retreat-2021.


Virtual Prayer Groups

Centering Prayer for Lent
Our Lenten reflection on Jesus’ words and works reveals Jesus’ intimate relationship with his Father. We see the depth of Jesus’ faith, trust, and love for God. This relationship developed through prayer. Often we see Jesus withdraw from the crowds and even his apostles to pray alone in silence. Jesus tells us “When you pray, go into your private room, shut yourself in, and pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you” (Matt 6:6). In Centering Prayer you enter your private room.

Lent is a time to follow Jesus more closely and learn from the fully human Jesus how to pray by entering your secret room, spending time that places God at the center of your life, opening yourself to a loving Father, surrendering your will and in trust allowing God to transform you. This is how we pray as we Center in silence.

Through prayer, Jesus, strengthened and moved by his Father’s love for him could willingly surrender his human life for love and reveal our God to us. Through the Paschal Mystery, Jesus of Nazareth was transformed to become Jesus the Christ. We too can be transformed through prayer that unites us to God. Lent is the time to pray as Jesus taught us and enter into the Paschal Mystery, receiving new life in God through death to self.

Centering Prayer is an ancient Christian practice available to all who seek transformation through a more intimate relationship with God. This daily practice deepens our faith as we come to better know our God as one who loves us unconditionally just as we are and trust God has plans to give us a future of hope.

Centering Prayer helps us say to the Father, “Not my will but yours be done” (Lk. 22: 42). Please consider joining us for weekly group Centering Prayer and let God move you closer to him. We gather Wednesday evenings from 6:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m. via ZOOM for 30 minutes of Centering Prayer and 30 minutes of Lectio Divina. All are welcome. Please contact Elizabeth McCarthy (978-462-7483) with questions or if you are interested in learning more about this simple prayer of resting in God.

Women at the Well Virtual Prayer Group
Do you ever feel like there must be something more than your day-to-day routine? Looking for a way to connect to other faith-centered women in the midst of a busy work, social, or parenting life? Or maybe you’re just searching for a new way to regularly meet and connect with Jesus. Welcome to a community full of Women just like you. Wherever you are in your faith journey, join us as we meet weekly for Blessed is She bible study, community, and friendship as we grow together in Christ. We meet Monday nights 6:30–8:00 p.m. All are welcome. Please email [email protected] to join us.

Going to Mass

Daily Mass is celebrated at Immaculate Conception, Newburyport, Mondays–Fridays, 9:00 a.m.
Our weekend Mass schedule can be found here. Please note that reservations must be made for weekend in-person Masses for capacity limitations and contact tracing purposes during COVID.
Face masks must be worn at all times and attendees must follow all COVID protocol including social distancing. Seating at all in-person Masses is limited.


Online Resources for Prayer and Reflection During Lent

If you would like to pray and reflect on the written word or inspirational videos in the privacy of your home, take advantage of the Collaborative’s offer to sign up for FORMED, a free online resource on faith formation for Catholics. Click here to link to our website's FORMED page or click here to go directly to the FORMED website.

Word on Fire Engage
You can watch any of Bishop Barron’s films or study programs whenever you want, on any device!
To access the resources of Word on Fire’s ENGAGE, please register at flocknote.com/hriccollaborative or by texting HRIC to 84576. Once you register, you will have access to ENGAGE.

Consider praying with the daily Mass Scriptures using the Lectio Divina method as described on the Collaborative website: https://www.hriccatholic.org/lectio-divina.

FORMED Lenten reflections: https://formed.org/lent

Bishop Barron’s 2021 Lenten Gospel Reflections: https://www.lentreflections.com/

Parousia: The Bible and the Mass video series (10 videos, all free during Lent) by Dr .Scott Hahn: https://stpaulcenter.com/studies-tools/journey-through-scripture/parousia-the-bible-and-the-mass/

Weekly Lenten reflections with St. John's Seminary, Boston: https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/su/wTC8Xmj/lentenreflections.

Loyola Press Resources for your Lenten Journey: https://www.loyolapress.com/catholic-resources/liturgical-year/lent/

Ignatian Spirituality Lent resources https://www.ignatianspirituality.com/lent/

Mementomori 2021 (Live for Heaven) daily Lenten email from Pauline Books https://pauline.lpages.co/memento-mori-lent/

Lent in 3 minutes Busted Halo: https://bustedhalo.com/video/watch-lent-3-minutes

Busted Halo’s Lent Calendar: https://lent.bustedhalo.com/

25 Great things you can do for Lent: https://bustedhalo.com/ministry-resources/25-great-things-you-can-do-for-lent

Loyola Press Living Lent Daily emails: https://www.loyolapress.com/…/liturg…/lent/living-lent-daily

Ingatian Spirituality Lenten Resources and Reflections: https://www.ignatianspirituality.com/lent

USCCB Daily Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/021820.cfm

Lentspiration, Franciscan University: https://weare.franciscan.university/lent-inspiration-lockscreens/?fbclid=IwAR3VA2lULb8Whblp89kg2IEbCFmDq5MW2RdNEPn0m8Kx8nltkaiDBusgK38

Dynamic Catholic Best Lent Ever: https://dynamiccatholic.com/best-lent-ever?utm_source=CathAdNet&utm_medium=Display&utm_campaign=BLE2020&utm_content=728x90MT

Relevant Radio's 40 Lenten Lessons on the Mass by Fr. Rocky: https://relevantradio.com/father-rockys-40-lenten-lessons-mass/

EWTN Lenten Reflections: https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/reflections.



Almsgiving can be giving of your time as well as monetary donations. Here are some ideas for local giving.

Holy Redeemer St. Vincent de Paul
Due to the pandemic, we will not be distributing mite boxes this year. We are encouraging fasting, prayer, and charity and we ask you to remember those less fortunate during these difficult times. Please consider donating to SVdP. Checks can be made out to HR SVdP and mailed to 4 Green St., Merrimac, MA 01860 or place your donation into one of the poor boxes at the back of the churches.

Immaculate Conception St. Vincent de Paul
Donations can be made payable to Society of St. Vincent de Paul and sent to Immaculate Conception Church, 42 Green Street, Newburyport, MA 01950. People can also donate directly to SVdP Newburyport through their new website at www.svdpnewburyport.org.

Helping Our Homeless (Homeless Care Packs)
Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.
In an effort to ease the suffering of our homeless and as a Collaborative-wide Lenten observance, we again will be collecting “Homeless Care Packs” at all three churches. A Homeless Care Pack is a one-gallon Ziploc bag filled with personal care items for men and women. They will be distributed to local agencies serving our homeless, including Pelican Intervention Fund, St. Vincent de Paul, Pettengill House, Salvation Army, YWCA, Community Service, and others.
Travel-size personal care items are the best size and can be found in most pharmacies in the area. There will be a collection box at the entrance of each church and in the lobby of the IC Parish Center, or you can contact a member of our Confirmation classes. For more information or to help, contact Aaron Giard ([email protected]) or Jonathan Temple ([email protected]). Thank you for your generosity and compassion.   
Items needed:
shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, razor, socks, gloves, shaving cream, cough drops, protein bars, soap, Life Savers candy, diisposable face cloths, Kleenex packs, hand sanitizer, feminine hygiene products (women), umbrellas, antiseptic wipes, disposable face masks.
No mouthwash or loose items please.

All Saints Parish, Haverhill
All Saints operates a food pantry and is always in need of food donations and volunteers. Visit their website to learn more about how you can help (https://www.allsaintshaverhill.org/foodpantry)

Lazarus House Ministries
Lazarus House helps those people who live a daily struggle to get the most basic needs. We provide physical, emotional, and spiritual shelter from the hardships suffered in their lives, giving them the opportunity to have choices they otherwise would not have. Our numbers have soared during this pandemic. We are seeing about 300 people per day, six days a week coming to a takeout window in our soup kitchen for “to go” bags for breakfast and lunch. At our weekly Wednesday food pantry, we are serving on average 1100 plus families per week. In non COVID times this number was about 850. In order to keep serving as the numbers continue to rise, we are dependent, more than ever, on the generosity of our wonderful faith partners. Visit https://lazarushouse.org/ways-to-give/ to donate online or to view items that are needed including: water, juice boxes, granola bars, hand lotion, hand warmers, body wash, deodorant, family-sized shampoo and conditioner, diapers sizes 5 & 6 and feminine hygiene pads.

Community Service of Newburyport
Due to COVID restrictions, we can only accept monetary donations at this time. You can mail your tax deductible contributions to: Community Service of Newburyport, Inc., P.O. Box 843, Newburyport, MA 01950 or donate online at https://www.communityserviceofnewburyport.com/donate.html.

Our Neighbors Table
Due to COVID restrictions, we can only accept monetary donations at this time. Please visit our website for more information on how to donate. https://www.ourneighborstable.org/give.html.

Emmaus, Haverhill
Our Mission: We affirm the value of human dignity and self-respect for every person. We are called by our collective spiritual and social responsibility to serve all people in need—the homeless, disadvantaged, disabled, unemployed, and oppressed. Our goal is to enhance societal and personal advancement through provision of housing and support services that empower individuals and families to reach their fullest potential. Visit https://emmausinc.org/covid-19-crisis/ to learn how you can help.

Pregnancy Care Center, Haverhill
The Pregnancy Care Center is a non-profit ministry of Jesus Christ committed to saving lives physically, spiritually, and emotionally...one life at a time. Visit http://www.pccfriends.org/help to help our mission—whether by offering prayer support, volunteering time, or making a financial gift, you provide hope for women facing a crisis. Pregnancy Care Center (PCC) accepts monetary donations as well as donations of clothing, baby food, and baby furniture.

Fostering Care Inc., West Newbury
Fostering Care seeks to support children entering foster care by providing basic necessities and personal care items. Please consider donating your child’s gently used clothing, new clothing, new socks and underwear, backpacks, outerwear, books, gift cards and any personal care items such as diapers, wipes, deodorant, body wash, toothbrushes, and toothpaste (those handy little kits the dentist gives away are perfect!) We create gender, size, and seasonally specific bags for children heading to their new/temporary homes. Visit our website https://fosteringcareinc.wordpress.com/ to make a donation and learn how you can help.


Lenten Ideas for Children

The Archdiocese of Boston has created a downloadable calendar, "A Lenten Journey for Families Calendar" with a St. Joseph theme for The Year of St. Joseph. Download it here.

Katie Bogner's blog has many ideas for children during Lent https://www.looktohimandberadiant.com/

Loyola Press 40 Ideas for 40 Days calendar

The activities are grounded in the symbols, Scripture readings, devotions, and traditions of the Lenten season. Check this calendar each day to find another Lenten activity that you can adapt for your own setting.

Loyola Press Lenten Ideas for Children: https://www.loyolapress.com/catholic-resources/liturgical-year/lent/activities-and-resources/lenten-activities-for-children/

Sadlier printable resources for Lent: https://www.sadlier.com/religion/blog/bid/79007/resources-for-lent

Catholic Sprouts 40 Faith-Building Lenten Activities https://catholicsprouts.com/40-faith-building-lenten-activities/

Catholic Inspired Lent Activities https://www.catholicinspired.site/lent-activities.html