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The liturgical season of Lent is a time of abstinence, prayer, and personal reflection in preparation for Easter. The 40 day period of Lent (which does not include Sundays) is symbolic of the 40 days and nights that Jesus spent praying and fasting in the desert before starting his ministry.


Constantine Lent is one of the oldest observations on the Christian calendar. Although there’s evidence of some kind of Lenten preparation for Easter in the early days of the Church, Lent becomes more regularized after the legalization of Christianity by the Roman emperor Constantine in the early 4th century.
 Like all Christian holy days and holidays, Lent has changed over the years, but its purpose has always been the same – the preparation of the believer for Easter through prayer, doing penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement, and self denial.
This year, in the Ukrainian Catholic faith, the season of Lent began on Monday, February 12 and continues until Easter, which for 2018 is on Sunday on April 1.


To keep the school’s approach to Lent vibrant and interesting, a new and different Lenten theme is selected every year. This year’s theme, inspired by Pope Francis, is: “The Joy of Lent”.


The IHMS Lenten theme for 2018


While Lent is a time for sacrifice, reflection, and prayer, Pope Francis has called for a greater appreciation of Lent by approaching it with a sense of Joy.

During the Lenten season, the staff and students of IHMS will be focusing on six different virtues, one for each of the six weeks of Lent. They are:

  1. Love: We find joy by remembering the love that God has for us as it was rooted in our baptism.
  2. Understanding: We find joy when we start understanding the seriousness of sin and the value of sacrifice.
  3. Cleanliness: We find joy when we cleanse ourselves from sin and corruptive influences.
  4. Trust: We find joy when we trust in God’s light in times of darkness.
  5. Loyalty: We find joy in being loyal to our faith. When we share our faith with others we become the light for others.
  6. Joyfulness: We find joy in knowing that our story doesn’t end in death and sadness but rather in joy in Jesus’ resurrection.


In addition, students and staff will recite “The Prayer of St. Ephrem” every morning during opening exercises. The Prayer of St. Ephram “is considered to be the most succinct summation of the spirit of Great Lent and is hence the Lenten prayer par excellence, prayed during all Lenten weekday services”.


“The Prayer of St. Ephram” is recited every morning during opening exercises by both students and staff during the season of Lent.


Every year, the students of IHMS observe the season of Lent by participating in a Christian service project. Helping others without an expectation of getting something back in return can be a life-changing event. In fact, Christian service is one of the most powerful ways to show youth the Gospel in action.


A Biblical quotation underlining the importance Christian Servive


For this year’s Christian service project, Mrs. Walkow and the school’s social justice team (SMAC) volunteered 5 hours of their time, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Manitoba Special Olympics Winter games. These games were held on Saturday February 24, 2018 at St. John’s Ravenscourt School.


The front entrance to St. John’s Ravenscourt School where the Manitoba Special Olympics Winter games were held on Saturday February 24, 2018


Classroom teachers also taught the importance of Lent during Religion classes. A booklet entitled “The Joy of Lent” was distributed to all IHMS teachers at the beginning of Lent. Teachers found the booklet to be a useful resource for Lenten ideas and classroom activities.



In addition to the various activities taught during Religion class by the K-8 teachers, there was one planned activity that was appropriate for all grades and involved the entire school – a Lenten Prayer Service. The Prayer Service took place on Friday, February 23 in the school gym immediately after opening exercises. During the service, students explained yjr six different virtues listed above, one for each of the six weeks of Lent. The entire program took about 40 minutes, and ended with a short song.


A few scenes from Friday’s Lenten Prayer Service


The liturgical season of Lent is an important part of school life at IHMS. Focusing on people less fortunate than ourselves helps us to prepare for Easter. It gives us the opportunity to improve ourselves and become more aware of our relationship with God. This is what Lent is all about – it helps us to become better people.

Lent helps us become better people







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