Feast before fasting

Lent begins this year on 26 February. It is an important time on the Catholic calendar, as we prepare for Easter.

The first day of Lent is Ash Wednesday, and it finishes on Holy Thursday before the evening Mass of the Lord's Supper. It includes 40 days of fasting, which excludes Sundays and continues through Good Friday and Holy Saturday. The Lenten fast reflects the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert being tempted by Satan (Matt. 4:2).

It is a time to reflect and take part in three areas — prayer, almsgiving and fasting.

More time given to prayer during Lent will draw us closer to the Lord. We might pray especially for the grace to live out our baptismal promises more fully. We can also pray for the elect who will be baptised at Easter. There are many types of prayer, and this could be an opportunity to try something new, such as imagining ourselves in Bible scenes as we read, or listen to them at Mass.  

Fasting can include giving something up, but not just food. Possibly fasting from social media, or a certain television show or streaming platform.  For the early Christians, going without food, enabled a neighbour to eat. Through our fasting, we can look for ways to nurture others.

Giving generously can include financial gifts, but also gifts of time. Research charities that are in need of donations and offer something to them during the Lenten season. This could not only include money, but a donation of time to serve as a volunteer or the effort to educate yourself about their work and mission.

Also, look out for Lenten programs run in people’s homes around the Diocese. Meeting regularly with a group keeps the purpose of the season in the front of our minds. 

The day before Lent begins is Shrove Tuesday, which this year falls on 25 February. It is traditionally the opportunity to use up the best or rich ingredients in our pantries. Here is a recipe for pikelets that can be made on that day.

Students at St Nicholas OOSH Rutherford, made pikelets during their vacation care program. They had fun mixing the batter and seeing it bubble in the frypan as it cooked.

Shrove Tuesday Pikelets


1 cup self-raising flour

1 cup milk

1 egg

butter, for frying


  1. Into a large mixing bowl add the self-raising flour, the milk and the egg, and whisk.
  2. Add a small amount of butter (½ teaspoon) into a frypan over low/medium heat. One tablespoon of batter will make one pikelet. Spoon tablespoons of mixture into the pan to make about three pikelets at a time.
  3. Once you start to see bubbles form in the mixture (after about 1 minute) you can flip it and cook for a further 30 seconds.
  4. Stack and serve plain, or with butter, jam or syrup.

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Brooke Robinson Image
Brooke Robinson

Brooke is Content Officer for the Communications Team in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle

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