What is Lent?

Author: Donnetta McClellan

2019 Lent 1

Sweets, carbohydrates, social media, television, cursing, and even warm showers are familiar sacrifices during the season of Lent. Many know of the tradition to abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent, but we are also called to practice self-discipline in other ways.  Pope Francis states, “Lent is a favorable season for opening the doors to all those in need and recognizing in them the face of Christ.” This year, the Office of Sustainability has chosen to focus our actions on reducing waste, whether it be food, energy, time, or resources, and using those sacrifices to help those in need around us.  The Lenten Calendar is a tool developed to help you focus on actions you can implement not only into your daily routines but even after the Lenten season has ended.

Lent is a special time of prayer, penance, sacrifice, and good works in preparation for the celebration of Easter.  By engaging in such disciplines, Christians prepare themselves to be open to the glory of God. By following the advice in the Lenten calendar, you can engage in a global act of self-discipline, while responding to Pope Francis’ call to action and reflection. 

The Lenten calendar provides guidance for those who wish to pursue daily challenges to both reduce their overall waste and carbon footprint and increase awareness of their energy use. Every action taken has a consequence, and by following this calendar, we can all reduce the negative consequences of our actions.

By asking Christians to deepen their commitment to the fight against climate change between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, the Lenten calendar illustrates one of many profound connections between environmental awareness and Notre Dame’s mission. We have a deep, spiritual obligation to care for God’s creation, and we can begin to care for our shared planet one daily action at a time.


By Ethan Muehlstein, Office of Sustainability

Original article posted 2/9/16.  Updated 3/6/19