View of gardens at papal villa of Castel Gandolfo

By Peggy Weber

Recently, Pope Francis announced he was giving something up.

No, it is not a lenten resolution. Rather, it is just following the style of a man who wants to live a simple life.

News agencies reported that he formally gave up his summer residence, Castel Gandolfo, and opened it as a museum. Previously, he opened the gardens to the public but now most of it can be seen as of Oct. 21.

There is a special train service from Rome and so it boosts the economy of the town which often relied on visitors when the pope was in residence in the summer.

Pope Francis has not spent a night in this beautiful place that the Vatican has owned for 400 years. It is a clear message from the pontiff that this kind of life does not fit with his message of mercy and smelling like sheep.

His decision got me thinking. What can I give up — not for lent or even advent but for good? What could I do without that would remind me every day that I am trying to be a better person.


I could try coffee but that would make everyone around me miserable. I tried one lent and it did not work.

However, is there something — even small — that would keep me focused on what matters in life.

I know people who do not eat meat on all Fridays as a way of making a sacrifice. However, I did not eat meat this twice this past week and did not give it a thought.

I could vow to do something every day, but I really like the notion of sacrifice.

I also know myself and realize that I lose steam on some of my resolutions. So for the month of November, in honor of All Saints and All Souls, I will give up playing games on my Kindle and computer. It might sound silly to some but often I spend an hour just fiddling with “crushing candy” or popping something. I usually do it while watching TV but I know I can do without them.

So what can you give up for a month or forever?