Dublin, March, 1st, 2017 (ICN). Archbishop Eamon Martin, from Ireland, has launched a special web resource as well as a Twitter and Instagram #LiveLent initiative, for Lent 2017 which begins today, Ash Wednesday.

Archbishop Martin said: "In his message for Lent 2017, which I encourage everyone to read, Pope Francis invites the faithful to return to God with all their hearts, to refuse to settle for mediocrity and to grow in friendship with the Lord. The theme for the Pope's message for Lent 2017 is 'The Word is a gift. Other persons are a gift'.

"Pope Francis describes Lent as a favourable season for deepening our spiritual life through fasting, prayer and almsgiving. He also describes Lent as a time for opening the doors to all those in need and to recognise in them the face of Christ. Each one of us meets people like this every day. Each life that we encounter is a gift deserving acceptance, respect and love. Pope Francis says that the word of God helps us to open our eyes to welcome and love life, especially when it is weak and vulnerable.

"Pope Francis also encourages the faithful to express spiritual renewal by sharing in the Lenten campaigns promoted by Church organisations in different parts of the world. I encourage the faithful to support this year's Trócaire Lenten campaign which focuses on their work with communities vulnerable to natural disasters in Honduras.

"I also encourage the faithful to reflect on how to grow closer to God this Lent by our daily actions, thoughts, words and to consider what sacrifice might be made to achieve this.

"For Lent 2017 we continue to provide online resources to assist in our spiritual preparations for the joy and hope which comes with the Easter season. I encourage everyone to visit and avail of our online resources and to consider taking part in our #LiveLent initiative", Archbishop Martin said.

The #LiveLent initiative involves short daily suggestions shared on Twitter and Instagram based on the theme of the Holy Father's Lenten message on how to best #LiveLent 2017. These will include suggestions on fasting, prayer and almsgiving, which are the three pillars of the Lenten season.

Click here for the Lenten resources and for links to the #LiveLent initiative on Instagram