When the penitential season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on Feb. 26, we will begin a special time where we come before God to seek to know Him better, serve Him more, and love Him deeply. In the days leading up to Easter, we turn away from sin and distraction and turn toward Jesus through prayer, fasting and almsgiving. For the February Junior Saints, we asked schoolchildren in the Archdiocese of Washington to write about and draw pictures of what they will do to grow closer to Jesus during Lent. 

“Lent is important because when you give stuff up you carry a small cross as in, a small thing that we did not want to do but we did it to be unselfish. This can strengthen our relationship with God." -- Holly Mott, seventh grade, St. Columba School, Oxon Hill
“What I'm doing to prepare for the passion, death and resurrection of Christ is do things Jesus would want me to do. Go to Church. Be kind to others. Treat people the way they want to be treated, and more. Jesus died for me. The least I can do is what He wants of me.” -- Brooke Hughes, fifth grade, St. Bartholomew School, Bethesda, Maryland
“What I must give up for Lent is complaining. Complaining is rude and really ungrateful. I have got to practice at least for all of Lent, to not complain. It shows how picky, selfish, and rude you are, and I don’t want to be that type of person at all. I’m going to try and have an anti-complaining Lent.” -- Tilly Cissna, fourth grade, Blessed Sacrament School, Washington, D.C.
“Lent is a time to get closer to God. One of the ways that I plan to do that is fast. A way that I will fast is by not having any sweets during Lent. Another thing that I’ll do is to pray not just every night, but also every morning when I wake up. The last thing that I’ll do is to give alms. To do this I will give money to a poor person next time I see one. I look forward to doing all these things during Lent.” -- Annie Meyers, fourth grade, Blessed Sacrament School, Washington, D.C.
Aubrielle Coles, second grade, St. Ambrose School, Cheverly, Maryland
“During the season of Lent, in preparation I will go and confess all my sins, and remember each and every moment that our Savior Jesus Christ has been through. I will pray more, give up chocolates because I am here eating junk while the homeless and poor have nothing to eat. I will use that money to help the poor." -- Tsion Demisse, fifth grade, St. Augustine Catholic School, Washington, D.C. 
“During the season of Lent, I will spend less time on the phone and spend extra time talking to God," -- Camille Urcia, seventh grade, St. Columba School, Oxon Hill, Maryland
“During the season of Lent, I will be fasting and praying to Jesus Christ. He had suffered so much for all of us, and the least I could do for Him is sacrifice the simple things. I will pray the rosary more, and I will show kindness toward everyone, even to those I'm not close to." -- Catherine Pensentadler, eighth grade, Our Lady Star of the Sea School, Solomons, Maryland
“The Lenten season is here again. This year I will give up video games because every free time I get, I spend it playing it. I will read the Bible and meditate with some verses of it. I will also pray the rosary before going to bed. By doing these I will be mentally and spiritually closer to God." -- Gian Cayabyab, sixth grade, St. Mary's School, Bryantown, Maryland 
“Thinking about giving up candy for Lent but thinking you can't do it because it's too hard? For Lent how about trying to have a more positive attitude? A positive attitude can help make other people happy too, just one smile can make such a huge difference. Just remember, have an attitude of gratitude and be happy. Also, for Lent remember to stop complaining and to use your manners." -- Melanie Moyer, fifth grade, Our Lady Star of the Sea School, Solomons, Maryland 
“I will do a lot of different things in preparation of Lent. One of them would be praying to God to give me the strength to give up something during the season of Lent. I would probably give something up before Lent starts, so it won't be hard to carry out during the Lenten season. Last but not least, I would start to fast earlier than usual." -- Leah Bryant, sixth grade, St. Pius X Regional School, Bowie, Maryland
“This season of Lent, I'm going to call my grandma more often. I think because we don't live close together we should be more in contact. I won't find it that hard honestly. I like talking with my grandma, and I want to make sure my grandma has a nice day.” -- Rafael Cumpiano, fifth grade, Blessed Sacrament School, Washington, D.C.
“During Lent I will be thoughtful of Christ to remind myself that God watches over all His children. I will also pray for peace so that my days won't be as stressful, and I would think on the bright side. I would also attend Mass so that I can have consciousness over what I would be doing this or next week. It would help me focus on my talks and never leave me alone dazed or lazy to not get my work done." -- Sunhee Han, seventh grade, St. Columba School, Oxon Hill, Maryland
”There are many things I could do during Lent but the ones I would love to do is to take some time out of my day to pray, read the Bible, go to church, or to reflect on myself and what I do. Lent is a time where I could give to others and start sacrificing and fasting." -- Megan Montero, eighth grade, St. Columba School, Oxon Hill, Maryland 
“During this Lenten season I will be giving up my own will in place of God's." -- Camryn McMurray, eighth grade, St. Pius X Regional School, Bowie, Maryland