Follow our give it up challengers for Lent fasting ideas
9 February 2018
This Lent, take on a give it up challenge to help our brothers and sisters around the world. First, choose your challenge. Then decide whether you will donate the money you save through fasting, fundraise towards the CAFOD Lent Appeal, or ask people to sponsor you during your challenge.
Your Lenten challenge could be a traditional fast, like giving up sweets, or you could try and make that lifestyle environmental change you’ve been considering for a while.
Not sure what to give up for Lent? Take inspiration from these CAFOD supporters who are taking on Lent challenges.
Giving up Netflix for Lent
Fr Tim Byron SJ works with young people in London. In previous years he has encouraged students to have a ‘digital detox’ during Lent. This year he’s taking his own advice and will be abstaining from the TV-streaming platform Netflix.
Fr Tim says, “For the young people I work with, I have seen that these periods of ‘digital detox’ can be a way of recovering pre-digital modes of being. Then I found a brilliant campaign that some of the Muslim students did during Ramadan - 'No Netflix, just chill - Get on your mat instead of your couch'.”
“My plan this Lent is to use the time I would usually spend watching programmes on Netflix in the evening to do some reading, even some spiritual reading. Maybe I’ll write some letters and cards rather than emails. Hopefully, I will spend a bit longer on my evening examen, a prayer that all Jesuits make every day.”
Your Lent challenge: Could you have a Lenten ‘digital detox’? If that would be too difficult, you could put some money in a pot every time you watch back-to-back episodes of a box set and donate it to CAFOD at the end of Lent.
Could you give up hot food for Lent?
CAFOD supporters Hal and Cherrie are members of east-meets-west electronic pop group Ooberfuse. This year they’ve taken a novel approach to deciding what to give up for Lent.
They say, “We thought we would give up food and drink that starts with our initials. Hal will give up ‘Hot food’ and ‘Hot drinks’ as they start with ‘H’ and Cherrie will give up all food starting with ‘CH’ - CHicken, CHocolate, CHeese, CHips and CHerries etc.”
Your Lent challenge: Follow us on twitter for ideas of other types of treats you could give up this Lent.
Giving up swearing for Lent
Amy has already had to give up a lot this year. To try and improve the arthritis she suffers with she has given up gluten, dairy, alcohol and caffeine.
She says, "One outcome of this is that when it came to giving something up for Lent I have not been left with many options! This forced me to dig deep and look hard at myself. So for this reason I am giving up swearing for Lent. I'm a little nervous to admit it but excited by the challenge and what God will bring from it!"
Your Lent challenge: Could you give up swearing, unkind thoughts or even complaining? Donate to CAFOD every time you slip up.
If we approach nature and the environment without this openness to awe and wonder, if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, our attitude will be that of masters, consumers, ruthless exploiters, unable to set limits on their immediate needs.
Laudato Si’, #11
Traditionally Catholics abstain from eating meat on Fridays, especially during Lent. But what if you’re already a vegetarian? What if you want to make an environmental impact with your Lenten challenge this year?
Susy (pictured above) works in the CAFOD Theology team. She’s been a pescatarian for 30 years but this Lent she will be eating a vegan diet – no animal products, no fish, no milk, no eggs. Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ encyclical is one of the things that has influenced her decision to try veganism.
Your Lent challenge: Could you do something to care for creation this Lent?
Quitting social media for Lent
Like Fr Tim, university student Georgia is trying a ‘digital detox’ as her Lent challenge.
As with many students, Georgia says social media is a big part of her life.
She finds social media addictive and she spends a lot of time “looking to take the perfect selfie for Instagram, snap chatting my friends, following my favourite celebrities on twitter or keeping up with my friends and family on Facebook.”
She’s hoping that giving up social media for Lent will be an opportunity to “unglue” herself from her smartphone.
Your Lent challenge: What do you spent too much time doing? Could you abstain from it during Lent? Use the time you gain to reflect using our Lent calendar.
Giving up shopping for Lent
Jeremy, who works in CAFOD's Hallam volunteer centre, is an old hand at giving things up for Lent. In previous year's he's given up chocolate, sweets, crisps, and even TV.
This year he's taking on a tough challenge - giving up consumption. By this he means 40 days without buying anything for himself.
He says, "If there’s something I really need, I’ll see if I can borrow it or maybe make it. And at some point during Lent, I’m going to get out all my “stuff” and see what needs giving away. I’m not sure if this will be difficult or easy, and that’s really the point. It’ll be good to learn just how much of a consumer I am!"
Your Lent challenge: Is there something you'd like to find out about yourself? Could you use Lent as an opportunity to challenge yourself in a different way? Tell us on twitter what Lent challenge you're considering.
Take on a Lent plastic challenge
CAFOD volunteer Julia is keen to use her Lent challenge to make a positive impact on the environment. So, she has decided to give up buying single use plastic. She hopes that her Lent challenge will translate into long-term changes in her behaviour.
Julia says, “Last Lent I gave up meat and since last Easter, I have eaten a lot less meat than I did before. My hope is that like last year when Lent is finished and I’m able to buy single use plastic my lifestyle will have changed so that I don’t need to buy as much as I currently do.”
Your Lent challenge: Still not sure what to give up for Lent? Try our 'What to give up for Lent' quiz to help you decide.
Make double the difference this Lent
Thank you to everyone who has donated to the Lent Appeal. Your gifts will change lives around the world. And if you donated between 13 February and 12 May, the UK Government will double your donation!
If you raised money in your parish or school over Lent and still need to pay in the proceeds, you can still have your collection matched.