Lenten Count-Down Chain

Lenten Count-Down Chain

Lenten Count-Down Chain

We use count-down chains on many occasions at my house – Christmas, birthdays, visits from grandma who lives three states away. It stops me from having to answer “How many more days until…” everyday, several times a day. My favorite count-down chain, however, is the one we do for Lent.

I cut 40 strips of purple construction paper. I divide them among my children. On one side of the strip, we write a Lenten practice. I encourage the children to do at least one of every type of Lenten practice – sacrifice, prayer and almsgiving. The children might write down no PS3 or Wii, no snacks, or no television as sacrifices. Prayers may include saying a sorrowful mystery for a special intention, for example, the first sorrowful mystery for those mommies contemplating abortion. Sometimes, the prayer chain link may ask for a visit to the chapel or a reading from the Bible. Almsgiving links suggest such activities as placing their own money in the poor box, going through their clothes to donate, buying can goods for the local soup kitchen or making Easter cards for the nursing home. I am not sure whether the practice of giving family members sincere compliments falls under prayer or almsgiving, but I always enjoy the day of that Lenten practice. Whatever the suggestion, the children themselves come up with the ideas and write them down. The older ones and I guide and write for the smaller children.

Then I staple the links together with the Lenten practices facing inward. Every morning during Lent, we remove a link, read it and perform the practice. Sometimes, especially for smaller children, giving something up for 40 days can become overwhelming. But anyone can give up TV for a day, though it is still a sacrifice. Moreover, this exercise teaches children not only the sacrificial aspect of Lent but also the need to pray and give more during this sacred time.

Furthermore, watching the chain become smaller and smaller adds to the excitement of the approaching holy day. Easter is the greatest day of the year. In keeping with the solemnity of the Lenten season, the count-down chain also allows us, as post-Good Friday Christians, to also anticipate the glorious Resurrection of our Lord and Savior.

*Note: Sundays are not counted in the 40 days of Lent. Thus, when doing the Lenten count-down chain, no link is torn off on Sundays. We, however, try to keep Sunday a simple faith and family-oriented day, as we always should.

Copyright 2013 Kelly Guest


About Author

God has given Kelly lots of wonderful opportunities to follow Him. She was a Dominican Sister of St. Cecilia in Nashville, an education coordinator for a Catholic Charities' program for pregnant teens, a middle school teacher, a director of religious education and is now a youth minister. Her most challenging and rewarding calling, though, is wife and mother of ten children. What she has learned, she blogs at CatholicMom.com.


    • You are most welcome, Joanna. It is always fun to see what the kids come up with. This year Leah wrote “No playing with Barbies.” The boys will love that day. Guess we will just have to find a favorite toy of their to give up for a day.
      Thanks for checking out my post! God bless your family this Lent!

  1. Great idea! I like how the chain keeps us focused on all three aspects of our lenten preparations. Is it OK if every three days is be extra nice to your siblings!!!!???

  2. Kelly, I love this idea! I never thought of a different Lenten sacrifice each day leading up to Easter Sunday; it would be exciting for children to anticipate what would be their special “deed” for each day.

    • Exactly! Today we are heading out to say hi to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament! We will say a prayer for you and your family!

    • Kelly Guest on

      Yea! Its pretty cool. The children really get excited to see what the sacrifice of the day will be. Thanks for checking it out. God bless you.

  3. michele badolato on

    I love this idea. It is great for the little ones but also an activity all ages can share in.
    I use to work with your cousin Stephen and I am glad he shared your blog with some of us.
    Also blessed to find your a member of my parish. I look forward to your future posts.

    • Kelly Guest on

      Yes, we had another successful Lent growing in holiness together by using the suggestions from our chain. Thanks for checking out my post. I will have a new one up tomorrow. I appreciate the support. Stephen is a sweet guy, isn’t he. I will have to thank him when I see him. Hopefully, I will meet you personally soon, 10:30 Mass maybe!

  4. Nancy Hallock on

    I’ve done similar chains for Christmas, but never thought of a Lenten chain. Another might be a chain with flowers counting the days to First Communion or Crowning of Our Holy Mother.

    • Kelly Guest on

      Hey, Nancy, what nice ideas. You have always been a creative woman. Never loose sight of all the wonderful gifts od has blessed you with, and keep sharing them. We miss you.

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