Almost halfway through Lent…and some good reads for Lent

Wow! Can you believe that we are halfway through Lent? Well, I’ve been doing well with my Lenten Mercy ChallengeAnd there are a couple of family things that we usually do for Lent but haven’t had a chance yet…planning to do them this weekend (better late than never)!

Crown of thorns – You can use the easy salt dough recipe below to create a crown. Or you could use a grapevine wreath. Place the crown in a prominent place in your home. For each Lenten sacrifice that a family member makes, he or she removes a toothpick from the crown. The goal is to remove all the ‘thorns’ from the crown by Easter. You can explain to your kids that sin brings additional pain to Jesus’ suffering but good works can comfort Him and show our love for Him. At Easter, once all the thorns have been removed you can paint the crown gold and/or decorate with colorful craft jewels, beads or flowers as a sign of the triumph of our risen King.

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • water
  • toothpicks


Mix flour (you can use whole wheat or rye flour to make the crown a darker color) and salt. Mix enough water to make a stiff clay. Knead until smooth to remove any air bubbles. Roll three long ropes and loosely braid them. Form the braid into a circle and stick toothpicks loosely throughout the entire crown (if you stick them in too far they will be difficult to remove). Bake at 350 degrees for an hour or until it is dry.

crown of thorns craft 4                              crown of thorns

Bury or Hide the Alleluia – During Lent we do not say “Alleluia” or “Gloria” during Mass. During Lent you can “bury the Alleluia”. To do this just create an Alleluia of some kind (construction paper letters, wooden letters, printable letters or just write it on a strip of paper) and then put the letters/strip of paper in a box and hide it somewhere. On Easter Sunday, get the box out, open it up and prominently display the ‘Alleluia’ for the entire Easter season!


A couple of good Lenten books:


Father Gaitley has a new book out. For those of you that don’t know of him he is a member of the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. He is the author of a bunch of best-selling books including 33 Days to Morning Glory which is a Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Marian Consecration. His new book is 33 Days to Merciful Love which is a Do-It-Yourself retreat in preparation for Consecration to Divine Mercy. It uses a 33 day preparation format in which you journey with St. Therese of Lisieux and follow her Little Way and concludes with a consecration to Divine Mercy.

And if you begin on March 1st you can consecrate on Mercy Sunday! If you don’t have the book yet you can see the first 7 days of the retreat online here. What a great way to live the Jubilee Year of Mercy to the fullest!

rediscover jesus

Matthew Kelly also has a new book, Rediscover Jesus . Our parish gave every family a copy of the book at Christmas. You can get your own copy here (just pay shipping and handling).

From the back cover of the book: At a time when so many people are spiritually disillusioned and searching for ways to live, love, work, and play that nurture the soul rather than destroy it, Matthew Kelly, once again, delivers a powerful book that encourages us in our weariness, challenges us in our comfort, and invites us to rediscover the beautiful possibilities God places before us daily. Rediscover Jesus is a profound invitation to seek deeply personal answers to our deeply personal questions. Each page seems to effortlessly reach deep into our lives, providing spiritual wisdom and practical insights that help us get to know both Jesus and ourselves in a new way. Some books find us at just the right time, and those books change our lives forever. Rediscover Jesus is one of those books.

Best Lent Ever is one of Dynamic Catholic’s most popular free programs. The program features daily two-minute videos that will take you through Rediscover Jesus chapter by chapter.

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