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What Is Almsgiving?

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During Lent, your congregation focuses on three main practices — prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Prayer and fasting are fairly straightforward concepts and are easy to explain. But what about almsgiving? What is it and why should parish members practice it during Lent? Learn more about almsgiving, how to help your congregation put it into practice, and how different church supplies from St. Jude Shop can assist you with the giving of alms during Lent this year.

Defining Almsgiving

Alms are physical gifts of money, food, or goods. Almsgiving is the act of giving these gifts to those who are poor. This practice is an essential pillar of the Lenten season because it helps reinforce our detachment from earthly belongings so that we can lean more fully into our spiritual lives.

Donating Money

While tithing is an important part of the Christian faith, donating money throughout Lent helps believers detach themselves even more from fiscal gain. After all, money is just a physical good and serves no purpose in one’s spiritual life.

As you encourage your congregation to donate, teach them about budgeting so that they can do more with less while they offer financial donations to charities and other causes. Remember to also teach them about the importance of a healthy spiritual life so they don’t feel like they’re going without.

Donating Food

Another way parish members can participate in almsgiving is by donating food. Whether it’s making meals for neighbors or hosting supper for a larger group of family members than usual, providing food for others is a great way to build relationships and break the ice between community members.

Donating Goods

With Lent spanning the end of winter and beginning of spring, there are still many cold or cooler days to weather. While coat drives are popular during December and the height of winter, many community members are still in need of warm clothing in later winter and early spring. Now is the perfect time for parish members to go through their closet and belongings to do some spring cleaning and put together items in good condition to donate.

Donating Time

Maybe you don’t have much to offer in the way of physical gifts, but you can still donate your time. These days, time is as precious a commodity as money, so sparing an hour or two a week to volunteer at a local charity can be more valuable than any physical donation. And while alms directly translate to physical gifts, sometimes the gift of your presence is more than enough.

Encourage members of your congregation to volunteer at soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and other charitable organizations to help them run more efficiently and serve more people.

Reconnecting Through Alms

While the focus on Lent is on reconnecting with God, it’s also about spiritual growth and connecting with others. As your parish members practice almsgiving, they will start to feel more connected with one another and their surrounding community. For more church supplies that focus on Lent, visit the St. Jude Shop Lent & Easter collection.

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