WHAT YOUNG CATHOLICS DID THIS LENT

With Easter two days away, the somber season of Lent is now over. Many young adult Catholics have been very active during this period. It’s a time for mercy, fervent prayer and faithful sacrifice, in pursuit of an even deeper relationship with Christ, by reflecting on His journey to the Cross out of love. Here’s what some young adults from different dioceses had to say about following Lenten practices.

“I’m cutting back on eating out, like fast food, restaurants and whatnot. If I do [eat out], then I have to buy gift cards to give out to those in need when I’m driving. We spend so much on food and, a lot of the time, we don’t even finish it all. Buying groceries and only eating what I need allows me to be a better steward of my finances. When I do eat out, it’s because I’m lazy and can get whatever I want, which is the opposite of what those in need can do. By getting gift cards for them, it reminds me of how hungry someone can get, and allows me to humanize them truly as brothers and sisters in need.” – Carlo Singh, 29, from Sacred Heart in Rancho Cucamonga.

“It’s my first Lent, and I gave up sweets. I’ve been learning a lot these past 40 days. It is very special Lent since I am completing my RCIA and being baptized this Easter.” – Sean Afable, 27, from St. Martin de Porres in Yorba Linda

“One year, I gave up influences—books, movies, etc.—that are considered licentious or perverted. Another year, I gave up sweets to save my teeth and teach myself discipline. It worked! I didn’t have a single cavity the next time I went to the dentist. This year, I gave up candy to save my teeth. I added morning and evening prayers and daily Scripture passages, because those are the foundation of our relationship with God. I’ve been attending Mass and/or Holy Adoration at least once during the week so that I don’t lose sight of the Eucharist between Confessions. And I’m giving up fries and soda for Holy Week because those are some strong cravings. (Being a Catholic “Jedi,” I believe in nonattachment as a means of drawing closer to God. Even good things can be distractions from God sometimes.) Any time of the year is good to give something up or add something, but Lent is when the Church calls us to focus on the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus. Plus, Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights in the DESERT—why shouldn’t I give up something for 40 days?” – Amanda Eckersall, 23, from St. John Paul II Polish Center in Yorba Linda.

“I’m keeping a Lenten journal, in which I am writing daily love letters to God as means of strengthening my relationship with Him and adding a tangible aspect. In the writing process, I take my time and try to be still and listen to Him in return. I am attempting to read part of the Gospel every morning daily. I’ve also given up the radio in my car recently, in order to sit in silence prayerfully as I drive. For me, Lent is a season for finding your way back to God, regardless of where you are at spiritually. There is always an infinite amount of room to grow your relationship with God, and Lent is simply part of the journey. It’s a season of contemplation through sacrifice and prayer, and making a stronger effort to become more hyperaware of His presence in our daily lives.” – Shannon Brayshaw, from St. Paul the Apostle in Chino Hills.

“I’m getting up before the sun everyday to say a Hail Mary and a prayer, that way it forces me to start the day in prayer.

Also fasting two or three times a week, and tried going to mass or Holy Hour everyday. For the first few weeks I actually did it but recently it’s been 4 days.” – Anthony Nguyen, 23, from St. Denis in Diamond Bar.

“For this Lenten year I did the typical thing giving up Instagram, because I was always on my phone…but I added two things to my daily routine. I added a Rosary every day praying for family and friends, and added a 33 day consecration to Divine Mercy to prepare for Divine Mercy Sunday. Both of these things I am doing with a group of friends, so we can experience this spiritual journey together. For me, this Lenten season and Holy Week is about receiving God’s merciful love. I feel like He just wants all of us to have confidence that we can go to Him anytime, no matter what we’ve done.” – Oliver Santiago, 25, from St. Madeline in Pomona.

“This Lenten season, I wanted to strengthen my relationship with Jesus and hone in on the idea of what it means to be a Christian. I figured the best way to be closer to Jesus was through His mother, our Blessed Virgin Mary. I started a 54-day Rosary Novena and have kept it up and never stopped. The Rosary helps me reflect on Jesus’ life and all that He experienced which in turn helps me to grow in the likeness of Him. Lent is a great opportunity for those who may have been struggling and fallen away from Him to see that He has never left our side and has no plans in doing so. There is nothing of this world that we need to give to receive His unconditional love.” – Sean A. Balba, 24, from St. Dorothy in Glendora.

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