I am Molly, a gap-year volunteer from Widnes, and in my work with the Animate team I like to do things that are a little bit out of the box. I particularly love this time of year for the opportunity to find creative ways of celebrating Lent.
One thing I like to do, for instance, during each of the 40 days of Lent is to find a different possession around the house that can be thrown away or donated to charity shops. I use this as a way of getting rid of things I no longer need while giving to charity in the process.
When it comes to Lent, however, photography (a big passion of mine) is one thing that I won't give up, because that would be exceptionally hard for me. Instead I take the Lenten photo challenge – whereby you are given a word for every day, e.g. blessed, mercy and humble, and need to take a photo of something related to it. If you wish, you can then post the image on social media to help spread the word about Lent.
When I am walking down the street during Lent, meanwhile, I make a point of smiling at people and saying hello, because that person could live on their own and not see many people – with a smile and a greeting, you could help make their day that little bit better. Don't get me wrong, I do try to smile at people in the street outside Lent! Sometimes, though, if in a rush to get somewhere, I will just put my headphones in and walk quickly to wherever I'm going. However, by taking the time to slow down and smile and say hello to people, you never know the positive impact you might have.
In short, I enjoy these extra activities at this time of year, on top of the usual giving up of bad habits such as takeaway food or too many Costa coffees. I do those too because I feel like they are a physical preparation for Easter.
Maybe this Lent could be a time for Pic readers to try something different in addition to the traditional fasting and preparing spiritually for Easter; why not attempt something similar to the decluttering or photo-taking activities that I'll be undertaking?
Dates for the diary
• Life and Soul, 6 February (7–8pm)
The Animate team will lead an evening of praise and worship music, including Scripture and reflections before the Blessed Sacrament and ending with Benediction, at St Aidan's, Holmes House Avenue, Wigan, WN3 6EE. Next month's event will be at St Anne's, Ormskirk on 20 March.
• Youth Alive Mass, Palm Sunday
Youth Sunday is celebrated globally on Palm Sunday, 25 March, and so to help us think about the gifts our young people bring to the diocese we will hold a special Mass at St Gregory's, Weldbank Lane, Chorley, PR7 3NW, starting at 6.30pm (time to be confirmed – please see website or call closer to the date).