I am a lifelong Catholic. Born and baptized Catholic. Went to Catholic schools for 27½ years (I took the long route to get my first graduate degree!). My parents were very active Catholics which meant that we as children were also involved in our parish and the practices of our Catholic Faith.
I have many memories of my Catholic upbringing, but even so, I have trouble pulling from the depths any recollection of Lent as a child. Maybe some vague thoughts of giving up candy? But that’s it. Nothing liturgical. Nothing beyond the superficial.
Of course, that makes sense to some degree. Christmas with its myriad decorations and activities probably made my Advent memories “stickier.” But that most important time of the Church year—Lent, Holy Week, and Easter—has very few files in my mental filing cabinet. While I might wonder why that is, it makes me think about how parents today might help create more formative Catholic memories for their kids.
Between CatholicsRead and the ACP’s Excellence in Publishing Awards program, I have been immersed in and subsequently fascinated by the treasury we have in Catholic children’s books that are intended to nurture and tickle, calm and soothe our children’s faith.
One of the ways to start building that foundation is with the MagnifiKid Daily Lenten Journey from Magnificat. Too often we think of a daily Lenten reflection as an adult activity, but why not develop this habit with your children ages seven and up? Together children can walk the road to Calvary with Jesus, prayerfully preparing their hearts for the overflowing joy of Easter. Each day includes an opening reflection, a Scripture reading from the daily Mass, intercessions, and small daily suggestions to help a child grow in holiness and draw them closer to the Lord. This resource includes dates for Lent through 2030 to make this a resource children and parents will rely on for years to come.
CatholicsRead this week has two resources to help you support a Lenten practice of prayer with the Scriptures.
Read your way through Luke’s Gospel (Cycle C) with The Gospels for Young Catholics from Pflaum Publishing Group. This edition is an easy-to-use, instructional format that will help you break open Luke’s Gospel and serve as a starting point for conversation and faith-sharing with your children.
Another way to introduce Scripture to children is through books that focus on significant stories from the Bible, like An Ark Full of Animals by Renita Boyle and illustrated by Honor Ayres. This edition presents the story of Noah in a detailed, child-friendly format. What better way to learn this very important story in salvation history (don’t forget its important connection to the Sacrament of Baptism) and practice reading skills with your children who are learning to read?
As I watch the young children in my life move from infant to toddler to child to tween stages, I hope that their parents will use some of these resources to build their Catholic vocabulary and create “sticky” memories of the Lents (and Easters!) of their childhoods.
Therese Brown is the Executive Director of the Association of Catholic Publishers. She holds a master of arts degree in youth and liturgy from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. She previously served as senior marketing specialist at United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Publishing Office. She is the author of Graced Moments: Prayer Services for the Lives of Teens (World Library Publications). She resides in the Baltimore area.