• Pope Francis’ message for Lent: We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God
  • Trócaire’s Lenten campaign focuses on the theme of mothers protecting their families

Ahead of Ash Wednesday tomorrow, which marks the beginning of Lent 2020, Archbishop Eamon Martin has launched the #LivingLent initiative on Twitter and Instagram.  #LivingLent invites the faithful to use social media to grow closer to God during this sacred season.

Archbishop Eamon said, “As we prepare for Easter over the next 40 days, our spiritual conversion can be nourished by daily actions, thoughts, prayers and words.  During Lent we also offer a particular sacrifice in our personal lives to help strengthen our relationship with the all-merciful Lord.  In his message for Lent 2020 We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God (2 Cor 5:20), we are encouraged by Pope Francis who reminds us, ‘life is born of the love of God our Father from the desire to grant us life in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10)’.”

Archbishop Eamon continued, “I invite everyone to read the Holy Father’s short Lenten message.  To complement his text our #LivingLent initiative on Twitter and Instagram, and online resources on catholicbishops.ie, offer suggestions for fasting, prayer and charity – the three pillars of the Lenten season.  The objective of our Lenten digital initiative is to assist our spiritual preparation for the joy and hope of the Easter season.”

The #LivingLent initiative offers short daily suggestions on Twitter and Instagram.  These include prayer and scripture suggestions; opportunities for penance and fasting in our daily lives, for example fasting from gossip, fasting from negativity online, giving up certain foods; availing of the Sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession; suggestions of charitable acts like donating to Trócaire and other charities; donating your time by helping your own family, school, parish; and, by behaving in a charitable way towards all those whom we meet.

Everyone can use the hashtag #LivingLent and share with their followers how they are putting the themes of prayer, fasting and charity into practice during this Lenten season.

In addition, the 2020 Lenten campaign of Trócaire, the overseas development agency of the Bishops’ Conference, focuses on the theme of mothers protecting their families.  The Trócaire box tells the story of two mothers: Angela in Honduras who is protecting her family’s land from logging companies, and Madris in Kenya who is trying to provide for her family in the face of climate change.  It tells two very different stories but both are linked by mothers trying to provide futures for their children.  See www.trocaire.org for details.

Notes for Editors

  • 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.
  • See catholicbishops.ie for the text of the message of Pope Francis for Lent 2020; for Lenten resources; and, for links to the #LivingLent initiative on Instagram and Twitter. 
  • The liturgical season of Lent

Ash Wednesday is a day of fast and abstinence for Christians.  For the believer Lent is the time of preparation for Easter and it commemorates the forty days which, according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus spent fasting in the desert before beginning His public ministry where He endured temptation.  In Lent – through prayer, penance (including participating in the Sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession), acts of charity and self-denial – we are called to renewal of our Christian life in preparation for Easter:


The Stations of the Cross, a devotional commemoration of Christ’s carrying the Cross and of His execution, are often observed.  As well as giving something up it is becoming more common to take something up as well and this may include taking time to volunteer, or spending more time in prayer.

Fasting and Penance

Penance is an essential part of the lives of all Christ’s faithful.  It arises from the Lord’s call to conversation and repentance. Christians undertake penance: in memory of the Passion and death of Jesus; as a sharing in Christ’s suffering; as an expression of inner conversion; as a form of reparation for sin.  During Lent the faithful are asked to renew their practice of ‘Friday Penance’ by undertaking some of the following:

– abstain from meat or some other food

– make a special effort to participate in Mass on Fridays (in addition to Sunday)

– make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament

– abstain from alcoholic drink or smoking

– make a special effort to spend time together in family prayer

– make the Stations of the Cross

– fast from all food for a longer period than usual and give what is saved to the needy

– help someone who is sick, old or lonely.


Traditionally during Lent many of the faithful commit to fasting or giving up certain types of luxuries as a form of penitence, the money saved from this can be donated to charity, for example, contributing to their Trócaire box.

For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long +353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm +353 (0) 87 310 4444.