Lent 2021

This year, Lent starts on Wednesday, February 17, 2021, and ends on Thursday, April 1 with evening mass on Holy Thursday. Lent is the 40 weekdays from Ash Wednesday until Easter. It is a period observed by Christians as preparation for Easter, involving prayer, fasting and penitence.

The Latest

Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary. Credit: PersiGianluigi (public domain).).

Vatican cardinal reflects on the value of penance in a time of pandemic

Feb 22, 2021

By Hannah Brockhaus

The penance called for in the Christian life, and accentuated during Lent, can help us make sense of the sacrifices... Read more

What's the point of fasting, anyway?

Feb 19, 2021

By Matt Hadro

God commanded it, Jesus practiced it, Church Fathers have preached the importance of it – fasting is a powerful and... Read more

2021 CNA lineup of fast food fish sandwiches    Credit: Christine Rousselle/CNA

Review: 2021 Lenten fish sandwiches

Feb 19, 2021

By Christine Rousselle

CNA's 2021 review of Lenten fast food fish sandwich offerings.     Read more

Pope Francis says Ash Wednesday Mass in St. Peter's Basilica Feb. 17, 2021. Credit: Vatican Media.

Pope Francis on Ash Wednesday: Lent is a journey from slavery to freedom

Feb 17, 2021

By Hannah Brockhaus

The 40 days of Lent are an opportunity to turn from the slavery of sin to the freedom found in... Read more

Pope Francis celebrates Mass in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta April 4, 2020. Credit: Vatican Media.

Pope Francis: ‘Experience Lent with love’ by caring for those affected by pandemic

Feb 12, 2021

By Courtney Mares

Pope Francis has encouraged Catholics to practice charity in Lent this year by caring for those affected by the coronavirus... Read more

Pope Francis takes part in the Roman Curia’s Lenten retreat in Ariccia, Italy, on March 6-10, 2016. Credit: Vatican Media.

Pandemic forces changes to Roman Curia’s annual Lenten retreat

Jan 20, 2021

By Courtney Mares

Pope Francis has asked members of the Roman Curia to make their own arrangements for a private retreat at the... Read more

Pope Francis on Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday 2021: Vatican offers guidance on ash distribution amid COVID-19 pandemic

Jan 12, 2021

By Hannah Brockhaus

The Vatican gave guidance Tuesday about how priests can distribute ashes on Ash Wednesday 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Read more

Family saying grace at table.

Dioceses permit meat on Lent Fridays due to coronavirus

Mar 27, 2020

Several dioceses across the United States have dispensed Catholics from the canonical requirement to abstain from meat on Fridays during... Read more

Pope Francis offers Mass in Casa Santa Marta.

Pope Francis' morning Mass livestreamed this week

Mar 9, 2020

By Hannah Brockhaus

Pope Francis’ daily morning Mass, offered in the chapel of Casa Santa Marta, the Vatican guesthouse where he lives, is... Read more

Pope Francis celebrates Ash Wednesday Mass in 2017.

'Never dialogue with the devil,' Pope Francis says

Mar 1, 2020

By Hannah Brockhaus

Pope Francis said Sunday to follow Christ’s example when dealing with the temptation to sin: send the devil away or... Read more

Pope Francis greets pilgrims before his general audience Feb. 26, 2020.

Pope Francis to miss Lent retreat due to cold

Mar 1, 2020

By Hannah Brockhaus

Pope Francis said Sunday he will not take part in his annual Lenten retreat with the Roman Curia in Ariccia... Read more

Pope Francis waves to pilgrims in St. Peter's Square Feb. 26, 2020.

Pope Francis' Lent advice: Put down phone, pick up Bible

Feb 26, 2020

By Hannah Brockhaus

Pope Francis urged Catholics Wednesday to use the season of Lent to spend less time immersed in the chatter and... Read more

Pope Francis says Mass at Sant'Anselmo all'Aventino in Rome for Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018.

Filipino archbishop requests abstinence from applause during Mass

Feb 24, 2020

In a pastoral letter anticipating the beginning of Lent on Wednesday, Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan has asked that the... Read more

Fasting and Abstinence at Lent: A CNA Explainer

Feb 24, 2020

By JD Flynn

What does the Church require in Lent, and why? Here are some answers from CNA.  Read more

Pope Francis offers Mass in St. Peter's Basilica Feb. 1, 2020.

Personal conversion needed to confront Satan's lies, pope says in Lent message

Feb 24, 2020

By Hannah Brockhaus

There is an urgent need for personal conversion, without which the temptations of Satan, and the presence of evil, create... Read more

Lent is over. Now what?

Apr 26, 2019

By Matt Hadro

Chocolate bunnies and marshmallow Peeps have graced the shelves of U.S. stores for weeks in anticipation of Easter, but now... Read more

Fr. Joseph Tran Duc Ngoi recites Lenten meditations at Trai Le Parish, Central Vietnam.

This unique chant brings Vietnamese Catholics deeper into Christ's Passion

Apr 19, 2019

While the Stations of the Cross are a worldwide Lenten devotion for Catholics, the faithful in Vietnam have an additional... Read more

Pope Francis prostrates himself before the altar of St. Peter's Basilica at the opening of the Good Friday liturgy, March 25, 2016.

Before Easter comes the 'Triduum' - What's that? A CNA Explainer

Apr 17, 2019

By JD Flynn

Got Triduum questions? CNA has you covered:  Read more

Francis: Let us restore Confession ‘to the place it deserves’ in Catholic life

Mar 29, 2019

By Courtney Mares

Pope Francis called for the Sacrament of Confession to be elevated in the pastoral life of the Church during a... Read more

Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square March 20, 2019.

Pope Francis tells Catholics not to abuse God's mercy

Mar 24, 2019

By Hannah Brockhaus

The mercy of God is not an invitation to “spiritual laziness,” but requires a sincere and prompt response from those... Read more