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The USCCB's theme for Lent 2016 is

The theme for Pope Francis's  Lenten message for 2016 is "The Works of Mercy on the Road of the Jubilee."  We address that theme in our printable 40 Days of Mercy 2016 Lent calendar which offers ideas for prayer, reflection and action during the Lenten season. 

As he asked in the Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis asks that "the season of Lent in this Jubilee Year be lived more instensely as a privileged moment to celebrate and experience God's mercy."  Lent begins February 10 for Latin-rite Catholics.

In a particular way during this Lent, we are asked to devote ourselves to the spiritual and corporal works of mercy that "remind us that faith finds expression in concrete everyday actions meant to help our neighbors in body and spirit."

"God's mercy transforms human hearts; it enables us, through the experience of a faithful love, to become merciful in turn."— Pope Francis, Message for Lent 2016

Take inspiration for your Lenten journey from Pope Francis's message and our calendar (coming soon).Find ideas for prayerful reflection and merciful action on our Jubilee of Mercy pages.

During Lent, the Church asks us to surrender ourselves to prayer and to the reading of Scripture, to fasting and to giving alms. The fasting that all do together on Fridays is but a sign of the daily Lenten discipline of individuals and households: fasting for certain periods of time, fasting from certain foods, but also fasting from other things and activities. Likewise, the giving of alms is some effort to share this world equally—not only through the distribution of money, but through the sharing of our time and talents. Contemplate the meaning and origins of the Lenten fasting tradition in this reflection.

In Lent, the baptized are called to renew their baptismal commitment as others prepare to be baptized through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, a period of learning and discernment for individuals who have declared their desire to become Catholics.

The key to fruitful observance of these practices is to recognize their link to baptismal renewal. We are called not just to abstain from sin during Lent, but to true conversion of our hearts and minds as followers of Christ. We recall those waters in which we were baptized into Christ's death, died to sin and evil, and began new life in Christ.

NEW: Lectio Divina for Lent

On these pages, you will find a variety of suggestions and resources to help you "raise up," "sacrifice," and "offer" during this Lent and to embrace your baptismal commitment.

Catholics are also encouraged to make going to confession a significant part of their spiritual lives during Lent.  The U.S. Bishops' statement, "God's Gift of Forgiveness: The Pastoral Exhortation on the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation" can be distributed and shared in parishes.  Dioceses are encouraged to make the sacrament available often during Lent and to use these resources to promote participation.  We also have resources to help individuals who have not been to confession in a while "rediscover" the sacrament.

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