VATICAN CITY – Following their annual Lent postmortem, the Catholic Church’s marketing department has declared the religion’s annual time of sacrifice and fasting be renamed the “Whole40 Program” ahead of next year’s observance.
“It’s hard enough to attract new members, but we never had to compete with trending topics before,” said Holy See Press Office Director Greg Burke. He cited concerns over Lent’s slipping Q-rating compared to other trendy restrictive dietary programs leading up to spring break as the deciding factor.
Burke, credited with being the PR right hand of Pope Francis, says that this name change will be easier for people to understand than the broad term “Lent.” He stressed that this falls well within the rules of 1966’s Paenitemini while holding up a freshly printed copy of The Vatican Press’s Whole40 Friday Cookbook!
Much like when a diocese allows meat to be eaten on Saint Patrick’s Day as a dispensation if the observance is made up on another date, this change does come with some trade-offs. In this instance, the Church requests it’s members not give up social media.
The team crafted its own custom Snapchat filters to draw in younger Catholics, and the Vatican’s website added a message board section where the devout can post stories of lifestyle changes and ways they combat their cravings during the forty days.
Burke believes this will help spread awareness and draw in those wanting to join in on the self-prohibitive fun. “It’s hard for everyone to know that you’re abstaining if you’re unable to post about how much better the act is making you, so we ask people to make sure their form of sacrifice can be posted on Instagram. We can’t wait to see pictures of all those ‘hashtag Fish Fridays’” he said, making finger quotations.
Making the change official minutes later, Pope Francis tweeted that “Those of the faith should fast only of the body’s desires, and not of the spirit or the spreading of the good word! #Whole40! Please RT!”.