Lent goes high tech

Categories: lent,Nation/World

Feeling a little fuzzy on the church’s guidelines on fasting and abstinence during Lent? Or feeling like you are the only one around that acknowledges the 40 days before Easter?

Well, smart phones, the Internet and all things social media are here to help.

YOUNG WOMAN REPLIES TO TEXT MESSAGE ON MOBILE PHONE

A young woman replies to a text message on a mobile phone in Washington. An Italian archbishop has asked Catholic young people give up texting on their mobile phones on Fridays in Lent. A study of teenagers in Italy’s Lombardy region concluded they send an average of 47 text messages a day. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Modern technology, hardly the bastion of all things spiritual, actually has plenty to offer. There are probably more websites, apps, blogs, Twitter feeds and Facebook pages about Lent than there are pages in the old family Bible. There are plenty of communities too — with people posting pictures of themselves getting ashes using the aptly named hashtag — #ashtag — and posting recipes and new ideas on what to give up for Lent.

There are websites with prayers, readings and online retreats as well as apps with tips on how to say the rosary, make a better confession and get coaching support for giving things up.

For starters, check out USCCB, Catholic Relief Services, Our Sunday VisitorFOCUS or Food for the Poor’s Operation Starfish program. On Twitter, follow anything with #Lent or #AshWednesday. Pinterest has plenty of ideas on foods to eat, things to give up and Lenten crafts for kids to make.

Once people have a handle on Lent, they might then consider backing off from the Internet’s handy tools, because some have pointed out that fasting from technology, even one day a week, is a worthwhile sacrifice for Lent as a means to quiet one’s mind from constant distractions.