Archbishop Eamon Martin is encouraging families to pray together and fast for peace this Lent.  Archbishop Martin was speaking as he launched the #LivingLent social media initiative for Lent 2022.  The #LivingLent digital media initiative invites the faithful to use social media to grow closer to God during Lent so as to prepare for the joy and hope of the Easter season.

Archbishop Martin said, “The season of Lent is a forty day penitential period leading up to Holy Week and Easter when Christians mark the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  For Catholics the beginning of  Lent is traditionally marked by a day of fasting and by the distribution of ashes on the foreheads of church-goers.  Believers are encouraged to make a commitment to prayer, charity and fasting or self-denial.  Many Catholics make Lenten promises or resolutions to mark the importance of this holy season.

“Our Lenten journey this year begins as we watch the distressing and frightening scenes from Ukraine. Our hearts and prayers go out to the people of Ukraine. We can never take peace for granted. We must always work for peace, pray for peace and make sacrifices for peace. All of us have the capacity to build peace by our words, our actions and our attitudes to others. We choose to sow peace or conflict, love or hate, to build up, or to tear down, to heal or to hurt, to forgive or to resent, to soothe or to inflame. Pope Francis has invited us all to unite in prayer and fasting for peace on Ash Wednesday. I encourage the people of Ireland to join in this moment of prayer and solidarity with the people of Ukraine. I also ask that during the season of Lent that our acts of fasting, prayer and charity might keep in mind the people of Ukraine and all those in areas of conflict on our world.”

Archbishop Martin said, “As we prepare for Easter over the next 40 days, our spiritual conversion can be nourished by daily actions, thoughts, prayers and words.  In his message for Lent 2022, Pope Francis is inviting the faithful to sow seeds of hope. I invite everyone to read the Holy Father’s short Lenten message and to avail of our #LivingLent initiative on social media, as well as our online resources on catholicbishops.ie which offer suggestions for fasting, prayer and charity – the three pillars of the Lenten season.”

The #LivingLent initiative offers short daily suggestions on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  These include prayer and Scripture reading suggestions; opportunities for penance and fasting in our daily lives, such as to refrain from gossip; fast from negativity online; give up certain foods; availing of the Sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession; suggestions for charitable acts like donating to Trócaire and other charities; and donating your time by helping your own family, school, parish.  Hashtag #LivingLent can be used and shared to help put themes of prayer, fasting and charity into practice during this Lenten season.

Archbishop Eamon Martin is Archbishop of Armagh, Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Dromore and chair of the Communications Council of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

ENDS