Lafayette, LA (KPEL News) - If you were raised Catholic, chances are that you went without candy between Ash Wednesday and Easter. "No candy" was the go-to Lenten penance. Discussions about "Whatcha giving up for Lent?" were as common as parade-going in south Louisiana.

Catholics view Lent as a solemn time of self-deprivation, but it's much more than just refraining from some beloved treat or practice. The real reason is so that the devout can focus less on themselves and more on being better Christians. The practice is meant as reparation of sins and growing in virtue.

Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are the three pillars of Lent. One diocese explains Lenten Penance as:

to interrupt the usual comforts of life, to rediscover in prayer the saving love of God, and to practice charity and justice towards those in need.

Any Catholic worth the ashes he or she sports on Ash Wednesday knows about the Friday rule: No meat on Fridays. They also abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday. We Catholics like our guideposts, and you can brush up on what those are at this link about Lent.

Maybe you've done the same penance every year and want to refocus. Maybe you've decided this year that you want or need to commit to a penance for Lent.

Whatever your reason, here's a list of suggestions. Let me know if you have any to add!

Lenten Penance Ideas for Catholics

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