Archbishop Paul Coakley Answers "What is Lent?"


Catholic Relief Services and the CRS Rice Bowl program have created a compelling Lenten video series that asks “What is Lent?”. For eight days, I am sharing each of the videos here at the blog. I hope you’ll join me in this brief retreat. I believe you’ll find, as I have, that these videos lead to deeper reflection and increased motivation.

Today, we hear from CRS Board Chair and Archbishop of Oklahoma City, Paul Coakley:

CRS Board Chair and Archbishop of Oklahoma City, Paul Coakley discusses how Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving enrich our Lenten experience and push us to love and serve our neighbors.

In the close of his video, Archbishop Coakley challenges us with the words, “Lent builds a foundation, so that you can serve others.” In uniting our Lenten fasting and prayer with true acts of “almsgiving”, we open ourselves up to the grace that God showers when we serve others generously.

Time and time again, I have to remind myself that this season is not about giving something up solely for the act of discipline. I’ve learned the same lesson so many times: fasting that is not tied to prayer and true giving is doomed to fail. I may successfully abstain from a food or practice for the full forty days, but ultimately I’ve grown no closer to Christ if my Lenten devotions are simply empty acts of willpower.

Today, I’m heading the words of Archbishop Coakley as I redouble my commitment to this year’s Lenten season and my chosen devotions. They are helping me to build a solid foundation, so that I can better serve others.

Who are you serving through your Lenten devotions this year? How are they, for you, construction a foundation of holiness and service?

To learn more about CRS Rice Bowl visit


About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of and the bestselling author of the Chime Travelers children's fiction series, The Grace of Yes, The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. As a board member and frequent host on KNXT Catholic Television, Lisa has produced and hosted multiple programs and has appeared on EWTN and CatholicTV. Hendey hosted “Catholic Moments” on Radio Maria and is the technology contributor for EWTN’s SonRise Morning Show. Lisa's articles have appeared in Catholic Digest, National Catholic Register, and Our Sunday Visitor. Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and Catholic technology and communications topics. She was selected as an Elizabeth Egan Journalism Fellow, attended the Vatican Bloggers Meeting, the “Bishops and Bloggers” meeting and has written internationally on the work of Catholic Relief Services and Unbound. Hendey lives with her family in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Visit Lisa at for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish or organization.

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