Fourth Week of Lent

Fourth Saturday of Lent

“Lent is the time to rediscover our way back to life. The Lord is the destination of our journey in the world: the course must be set on Him.”

(Pope Francis, 6 April 2019)

Fourth Friday of Lent

acn

News from Aid to the Church in Need

The slaughter of 130 Christians within six weeks – as a part of a surge in violent attacks by Islamist militant Fulani herdsmen – has prompted a Catholic priest to tell the Vatican that Nigeria is the new centre of Islamic extremism. Speaking at a meeting in the Vatican organised by Catholic charity, Aid to the Church in Need, Father Joseph Bature Fidelis, from the Diocese of Maiduguri, in north-east Nigeria said: “Nigeria today has the highest levels of Islamist terrorist activity in the world. Our country is, so to speak, the future hope of Islamist fundamentalists.”

The priest’s remarks come as reports indicate that the Fulani militants are now a greater threat to Nigeria’s Christian community than Islamist terror group Boko Haram, with the Nigerian House of Representatives last July describing the herdsmen’s sustained attacks as “genocide”. Since February, more than 130 people from the mostly Christian Adara tribe, in the state of Kaduna, have reportedly been murdered by the herdsmen. More than 10,000 people are now homeless and about 150 homes have been destroyed.

In a statement last week to Aid to the Church in Need, Father Williams Kaura Abba of the Archdiocese of Kaduna said: “These latest attacks have reduced many village communities to rubble and raised the level of the humanitarian crisis here to one of extreme gravity.” He said: “The latest wave of killings began on 10th February, when the Fulani herdsmen murdered 10 Christians, including a pregnant woman, in the village of Ungwar Barde, near Kajuru.” The priest described an attack on  a five-year-old, where failing to kill him with a gun and then a machete, the Fulani finally beat him with sticks in an attack that left him paralysed. “Not even animals kill people like that,” he added.

Father Williams condemned the lack of response from the government and accused the local state governor of colluding with the terrorists.

On 19th March, Father Williams organised a peaceful protest against the Kaduna killings and called on the international community to put pressure on the Nigerian government to open an independent enquiry. He said: “We cannot remain silent in the face of this human slaughter. If we are to salvage what is left of our humanity, then [they] must do their duty without fear.”

Fourth Thursday of Lent

child-praying

Jimmy, aged five, was proud of being able to say his night prayers alone, but his mother was not above listening through the door to see if he got them right. One night this was how she heard him finish:

‘God bless mum …
bless dad …
bless baby …
bless grandma …
bless Pooch … ‘

This should have led to ‘Amen’, but instead Jimmy raised his eyes fervently to the ceiling and added:

‘And please God,
take care of yourself,
’cause if anything happens to you
we’re all sunk!’

(Kenneth Payne in his book, “What shall I say”)

Fourth Wednesday of Lent

Psalm 144

The Lord is kind and full of compassion,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
How good is the Lord to all,
compassionate to all his creatures.

The Lord is faithful in all his words
and loving in all his deeds.
The Lord supports all who fall
and raises all who are bowed down.

The Lord is just in all his ways
and loving in all his deeds.
He is close to all who call him,
who call on him from their hearts.

Fourth Tuesday of Lent

islamchristiansymbols

On his return flight from Morocco to Rome, Pope Francis spoke to those who criticised his dialogue with Muslims.  The Pope said his trip in February to the United Arab Emirates and to Morocco were opportunities to demonstrate the Catholic Church’s commitment to interreligious dialogue.  Such trips “now there are blossoms, the fruit will come later. But the flowers are promising. We mustn’t give up.”  He said that every religion, Catholicism included, had members who are intransigent and against dialogue, people who “live on bitter memories of past struggles and seek war” more than peace.

Pope Francis went on to speak about religious freedom.  He said there are still Catholics who strongly oppose the Second Vatican Council’s teaching on religious freedom and its insistence that even non-Christians have a right to follow their consciences.  Doctors and other medical personnel do not have a legal right to conscientiously object to euthanasia, for example.  “Removing freedom of conscience is the first step to losing the freedom of religion”, he said.

Fourth Monday of Lent

pope-1

There’s a lot to ponder from Pope Francis’ speeches and homilies during his visit to Morocco over the weekend.  For example, in Europe, we often worry about declining numbers in our churches, but here’s another way of looking at our current situation:

“Jesus did not choose us and send us forth to become more numerous! He called us to a mission. He put us in the midst of society like a handful of yeast: the yeast of the Beatitudes and the fraternal love by which, as Christians, we can all join in making present his kingdom. In this context I recall the counsel of Saint Francis to his brothers as he sent them out: ‘Go out and preach the Gospel: and if necessary, also with words’.”

(Pope Francis, Address to Priests & Religious, Morocco 31 March 2019)

4th Sunday of Lent (C)

lent-4

Gospel  (Luke 15: 1-3, 11-32)

The tax collectors and the sinners were all seeking the company of Jesus to hear what he had to say, and the Pharisees and the scribes complained. ‘This man’ they said ‘welcomes sinners and eats with them.’ So he spoke this parable to them:

‘A man had two sons. The younger said to his father, “Father, let me have the share of the estate that would come to me.” So the father divided the property between them. A few days later, the younger son got together everything he had and left for a distant country where he squandered his money on a life of debauchery.

‘When he had spent it all, that country experienced a severe famine, and now he began to feel the pinch, so he hired himself out to one of the local inhabitants who put him on his farm to feed the pigs. And he would willingly have filled his belly with the husks the pigs were eating but no one offered him anything. Then he came to his senses and said, “How many of my father’s paid servants have more food than they want, and here am I dying of hunger! I will leave this place and go to my father and say: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as one of your paid servants.” So he left the place and went back to his father.

‘While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity. He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him tenderly. Then his son said, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son.” But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the calf we have been fattening, and kill it; we are going to have a feast, a celebration, because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life; he was lost and is found.” And they began to celebrate.

‘Now the elder son was out in the fields, and on his way back, as he drew near the house, he could hear music and dancing. Calling one of the servants he asked what it was all about. “Your brother has come” replied the servant “and your father has killed the calf we had fattened because he has got him back safe and sound.” He was angry then and refused to go in, and his father came out to plead with him; but he answered his father, “Look, all these years I have slaved for you and never once disobeyed your orders, yet you never offered me so much as a kid for me to celebrate with my friends. But, for this son of yours, when he comes back after swallowing up your property – he and his women – you kill the calf we had been fattening.”

‘The father said, “My son, you are with me always and all I have is yours. But it was only right we should celebrate and rejoice, because your brother here was dead and has come to life; he was lost and is found.”’

(From ‘The Jerusalem Bible’ © 1966 by Darton Longman & Todd Ltd and Doubleday and Company Ltd)

lent4c

Meditation

I come quietly and gently to my time of prayer. I ask the Lord to help me hear this familiar story anew, taking time to read it slowly and reverently. What particularly draws me, or touches me?

Perhaps I focus on Jesus’s description of the Father … how he watches out … runs to meet his son … the tender embrace … his joy. What do I find myself thinking and feeling as I witness all of this?

Now I imagine myself (re-)turning to God, or to Jesus, to ask for his forgiveness. How does he respond to me? And in turn, how do I want to respond to him? Trusting in his love and compassion, I share whatever is in my heart and ask for anything I need. When I am ready, I end my prayer with my own words of thanksgiving.

Adapted from ‘Prego’ (c) St Beuno’s Outreach, Diocese of Wrexham


Third Week of Lent

Third Saturday of Lent

Gospel (Luke 18: 9-14)

Jesus spoke the following parable to some people who prided themselves on being virtuous and despised everyone else: ‘Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood there and said this prayer to himself, “I thank you, God, that I am not grasping, unjust, adulterous like the rest of mankind, and particularly that I am not like this tax collector here. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes on all I get.” The tax collector stood some distance away, not daring even to raise his eyes to heaven; but he beat his breast and said, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” This man, I tell you, went home again at rights with God; the other did not. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the man who humbles himself will be exalted.’

phariseeandpublican_square_lg

Thought

The prayer of the tax collector, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner”, is the origin of ‘The Jesus Prayer’: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”. Today, perhaps we could keep this prayer on our lips as we go about the day.

Third Friday of Lent

crucifix

“Where should we fix our gaze along the journey of Lent? On the Crucifix. Jesus on the Cross is the compass of life that points us to Heaven.”

Pope Francis – 27 March 2019

Third Thursday of Lent

prayer

A Prayer for the Nation

God of hope,
in these times of change,
unite our nation
and guide our leaders with your wisdom.
Give us courage to overcome our fears,
and help us to build a future
in which all may prosper and share.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

© Church of England

Third Wednesday of Lent

djgzum_wwaajsv9

SYNOD 2020

The four Synod Questions that will inform and inspire the process of listening and discernment over the coming months are:

1) Where in your everyday life do you experience love, truth, goodness, hope, and joy?

2) When you reflect on your life now, and as you look to the future, what causes you concern or worry?

3) What is the purpose of the Catholic Church in the world today?

4) Having reflected on these things, what are the topics you would like to see on the agenda of Synod 2020?

We are all invited to reflect deeply and respond to these four Synod Questions. Listening will be done through an online survey, focus groups facilitated by Fr Peter McGrail at Liverpool Hope University, and by Synod Members in our local communities after Easter. It is through this great project of listening that we will begin to discern the Church God is calling us to be.

If you would like to complete the online survey, you can do so by going to www.synod2020.co.uk

Third Tuesday of Lent

romero

Last Sunday, 24 March, was the (first) Feast Day of St Oscar Romero.

Oscar Romero was Archbishop of San Salvador. He was assassinated on 24 March 1980 as he was celebrating Mass in the chapel of the Divine Providence cancer hospital where he lived. Thirty-five years later, he was declared a martyr of the Church, killed out of hatred of the faith, and was beatified on 23 May 2015. He was canonised by Pope Francis on 14 October 2018.

“Let us not tire of preaching love; it is the force that will overcome the world” (Oscar Romero).

 St Oscar Romero, pray for us!

Third Monday of Lent

Today, 25 March, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord.

Annunciation

“May the Blessed Virgin help everyone, especially young people, to follow the path of peace and fraternity, based on welcome and forgiveness, on respect for others, and on the love that is the gift of self” (Pope Francis).

3rd Sunday of Lent (C)

lent-3

Gospel  (Luke 13: 1-9)

Some people arrived and told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with that of their sacrifices. At this he said to them, ‘Do you suppose these Galileans who suffered like that were greater sinners than any other Galileans? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did. Or those eighteen on whom the tower at Siloam fell and killed them? Do you suppose that they were more guilty than all the other people living in Jerusalem? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did.’

He told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it but found none. He said to the man who looked after the vineyard, “Look here, for three years now I have been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and finding none. Cut it down: why should it be taking up the ground?” “Sir,” the man replied “leave it one more year and give me time to dig round it and manure it: it may bear fruit next year; if not, then you can cut it down.”’

(From ‘The Jerusalem Bible’ © 1966 by Darton Longman & Todd Ltd and Doubleday and Company Ltd)

Thought

The Gospel gives us the parable of the fig tree. The tree wasn’t producing any fruit, so the owner decided to cut it down. But the person tending to the tree begged the owner to give it another chance.

That’s how Jesus is with us. He leaps to our defence – give him/her another chance. Our Lord has great hope in us. Let’s thank him for his merciful love.

Fr Dave

lent3c

Prayer

God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,
you revealed your name to Moses in the burning bush;
and you revealed your mercy to every generation
in the life and teaching of Jesus.
Open our minds to the wisdom of his Gospel
that we may grasp the lessons you teach us
in the events of our daily lives.
Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.


Second Week of Lent

Second Saturday of Lent

Brexit Crisis

As the Brexit crisis continues, it might be worth remembering the wise words spoken by the Queen in a speech to her local Women’s Institute in Norfolk in January. While not mentioning Brexit specifically, the Queen said: “As we look for new answers in the modern age, I for one prefer the tried and tested recipes, like speaking well of each other and respecting different points of view; coming together to seek out the common ground; and never losing sight of the bigger picture.”

Second Friday of Lent

pope-francis

Wasting Food

This culture of waste has also made us insensitive to wasting and throwing out excess foodstuffs, which is especially condemnable when, in every part of the world, unfortunately, many people and families suffer hunger and malnutrition.

There was a time when our grandparents were very careful not to throw away any leftover food. Consumerism has induced us to be accustomed to excess and to the daily waste of food, whose value, which goes far beyond mere financial parameters, we are no longer able to judge correctly.

Let us remember well, however, that whenever food is thrown out it is as if it were stolen from the table of the poor, from the hungry!

(Excerpts from Pope Francis, General Audience, 5 June 2013)

Second Thursday of Lent

Today, let us pray for the people of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi affected by Cyclone Idai.

a-prayer-for-help-prayer-card

Second Wednesday of Lent

Today, 20th March, is the anniversary of the bombing in Warrington in 1993.

Let’s take a moment today to remember Johnathan Ball and Tim Parry who were killed, their families, the many who were injured, and all those affected by the bombing.

IMG_0759

‘River of Life’, Warrington. Photograph (c) canondh.

A Prayer for World Peace (1978)
We pray for the power to be gentle;
the strength to be forgiving;
the patience to be understanding;
and the endurance to accept the consequences
of holding on to what we believe to be right.

May we put our trust in the power of good to overcome evil
and the power of love to overcome hatred.

We pray for the vision to see and the faith to believe
in a world emancipated from violence,
a new world where fear shall no longer lead
men or women to commit injustice,
nor selfishness make them bring suffering to others.

Help us to devote our whole life and thought and energy
to the task of making peace,
praying always for the inspiration and the power
to fulfil the destiny for which we and all men and women were created.
Amen.

Second Tuesday of Lent

Today, we interrupt the season of Lent to celebrate the Solemnity of St Joseph, husband of Mary, foster father to Jesus, and patron saint of the Church and of this Archdiocese.

sleeping-st-joseph

During his visit to the Philippines in 2015, Pope Francis said: “I have great love for Saint Joseph, because he is a man of silence and strength. On my table I have an image of Saint Joseph sleeping. Even when he is asleep, he is taking care of the Church! … “When I have a problem, a difficulty, I write a little note and I put it underneath Saint Joseph, so that he can dream about it! In other words, I tell him: pray for this problem!”

Second Monday of Lent

“There is never a reason to lose hope. Jesus says: ‘I am with you until the end of the world’.”
(Pope Francis)

2nd Sunday of Lent (C)

lent-9

Gospel  (Luke 9: 28-36)

Jesus took with him Peter and John and James and went up the mountain to pray. As he prayed, the aspect of his face was changed and his clothing became brilliant as lightning. Suddenly there were two men there talking to him; they were Moses and Elijah appearing in glory, and they were speaking of his passing which he was to accomplish in Jerusalem. Peter and his companions were heavy with sleep, but they kept awake and saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As these were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, ‘Master, it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ – He did not know what he was saying. As he spoke, a cloud came and covered them with shadow; and when they went into the cloud the disciples were afraid. And a voice came from the cloud saying, ‘This is my Son, the Chosen One. Listen to him.’ And after the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. The disciples kept silence and, at that time, told no one what they had seen.

transfiguration

Meditation

As I begin my prayer, I slowly become more aware of being in God’s presence. I take my time to relax into this presence, and ask his Spirit to be with me as I contemplate the Gospel story…

Having read the text attentively a couple of times, I can perhaps picture the scene and imagine being present there. Do I look at Jesus praying, and see the transformation in him taking place? How do I respond to this? …

Despite Jesus’s glory, Moses and Elijah speak of his forthcoming Passion. Do I sense a contradiction, or can I already foresee the joy of Easter at this time? Or perhaps, like the disciples, I find it all too difficult and do not wish to contemplate what lies ahead? I speak to the Lord about how I feel…

When the shadow of the cloud comes down, am I fearful of the darkness and the unknown? Or can I still feel the presence of God and be content to wait? How do I live this out when a ‘shadow’ descends in my own life? …

The Father speaks. Jesus is the Chosen One, his Son. Maybe I can just sit with these words, allowing them to strengthen my love and my faith, slowly transforming me and so enabling me to listen.

I end my prayer slowly with a ‘Glory be’ …

(From ‘Prego’, St Beuno’s Outreach, Diocese of Wrexham)


First Week of Lent

First Saturday of Lent

Simply this:

whatever-ive-done

First Friday of Lent

cafod

Today is CAFOD’s Lent Fast Day – one of two days in the year when we try to reach out to our sisters and brothers overseas who are poor.  See under ‘News’ for more information.

God of all,
you made the earth and saw that it was good,
but like robbers we have stripped it of its treasure.
R. Open our eyes, Lord.

Now the earth cries out
and your people hunger and thirst.
R. Open our eyes, Lord. 

Open our eyes to see the pain of your creation
and move us with compassion for your world.
R. Open our eyes, Lord. 

Lead us to act as neighbours,
who do not pass by on the other side.
R. Open our eyes, Lord. 

So that together we may care for all that you have made
and with all creation sing your praise.
R. Open our eyes, Lord. 

(Catherine Gorman/CAFOD)

First Thursday of Lent

acn

Last week, Pope Francis called on people to pray for persecuted Christians. The Pope said that persecution happens not only in countries where religious freedom is trampled underfoot, but also in places where such rights are protected “in theory and on paper”.

Today, let’s stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians around the world by praying ‘The Angelus’.

The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary…

Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done unto me according to thy word.
Hail Mary…

And the Word was made flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary…

Pray for us O Holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.
Pour forth, we beseech thee, O Lord,
thy grace into our hearts;
that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ, thy Son,
was made known by the message of an angel,
may by his Passion and Cross
be brought to the glory of his Resurrection.
Through the same Christ, our Lord.
Amen.

First Wednesday of Lent

synod

As Synod Members prepare to lead listening and discernment sessions across the Archdiocese after Easter, let’s pray the Synod 2020 prayer:

Synod Prayer
Father, we thank you
for the love you have shown us
in the gift of Jesus, your Son.
We thank you for the gift of the Church,
through which you show us
that you are always with us
and are always at work in our lives.

As we journey together to Synod 2020,
help us to become the Church that you are calling us to be.
May your Holy Spirit be powerfully
at work among us.
Strengthen each of us and guide Francis, our Pope
and Malcolm, our Archbishop.

Help us to respond
to the challenges of our times in new ways
to bring your love to all our sisters and brothers.
We make this prayer
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Synod Opening Ceremony
You can now watch highlights of the Synod Opening Ceremony on the website www.synod2020.co.uk under ‘News’.

First Tuesday of Lent

the-lords-prayer

In today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches his disciples to pray. He gives them what we now know as ‘The Lord’s Prayer’. Most Christians are very familiar with this prayer and perhaps pray it daily. But familiarity can mean we say the words without thinking about them.

Today, why not pray ‘The Lord’s Prayer’, but pause for a moment at the end of each line and think about the words you’ve just said. Then move on to the next line and do the same again.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

First Monday of Lent

“At the beginning of Lent, it would do us good to ask for the grace to preserve the memory of all that the Lord has done in our lives, of how He has loved us” (Pope Francis, 7 March 2019).

1st Sunday of Lent (C)

lent-1

Gospel (Luke 4: 1-13)

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit through the wilderness, being tempted there by the devil for forty days. During that time he ate nothing and at the end he was hungry. Then the devil said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to turn into a loaf.’ But Jesus replied, ‘Scripture says: Man does not live on bread alone.’

Then leading him to a height, the devil showed him in a moment of time all the kingdoms of the world and said to him, ‘I will give you all this power and the glory of these kingdoms, for it has been committed to me and I give it to anyone I choose. Worship me, then, and it shall all be yours.’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Scripture says: You must worship the Lord your God, and serve him alone.’

Then he led him to Jerusalem and made him stand on the parapet of the Temple. ‘If you are the Son of God,’ he said to him ‘throw yourself down from here, for scripture says: He will put his angels in charge of you to guard you, and again: They will hold you up on their hands in case you hurt your foot against a stone.’

But Jesus answered him, ‘It has been said: You must not put the Lord your God to the test.’

Having exhausted all these ways of tempting him, the devil left him, to return at the appointed time.

 archbishop

Pastoral Letter from the Archbishop

My dear friends,

This is going to be a difficult Lent for all of us. As I write this letter both our nation and the Church are in crisis. Every one of us is deeply disturbed by our country leaving the European Union. Whether we voted to leave or remain we did not expect the process to be this difficult, but whatever happens in the next few weeks it does look as though many ordinary men and women, and families may feel some detrimental economic effects of Brexit, at least in the short term. Therefore, it seems to me that this is a time for us to show our worth as Christians and not to be looking for a quick fix. As Christians we welcome strangers, we reach out to the hungry and we provide shelter for those who have none. In today’s reading from St Luke’s Gospel, Jesus is presented by the devil with a range of quick fixes. He could easily have fed himself by turning stones in to bread, but he chose not to do so because he didn’t need to prove himself. So, it should be with us, as Jesus’s brothers and sisters we should respond to the needs of others simply because it is our nature to do so. The work that goes on in the Archdiocese feeding the hungry through foodbanks, providing homes for those in need, supporting asylum seekers, caring for those who are rough-sleeping, helping trafficked men and women, as well as the work of Nugent, our own Catholic social services agency, is simply phenomenal. I have only scratched the surface of all the good work that is done, and I applaud you for what you are doing. But if there is an economic recession then we will have to give even more of our time and resources not only during Lent but possibly for longer. This is not a time for us to only look after ourselves, but a time to be generous of spirit and attentive to the needs of our neighbours.

The gospel today also speaks to us of the misuse of power. The devil offers Jesus power over all the kingdoms of the world, but he refuses as he reminds us, ‘You must worship the Lord your God, and serve him alone.’ The recent meeting of Presidents of Bishops’ Conferences with Pope Francis in Rome on Child Sexual Abuse highlighted how the evil misuse of power by clergy has left in its wake numerous victims whose lives have been damaged and who many years later are still suffering. We have not been spared this evil in our Archdiocese and some of our priests have been convicted of offences against children. I believe that we have set up a thorough and rigorous system for safeguarding our young people so that our Church is now a safe place for them. But we can never be complacent, that is why I eagerly await the guidance from Pope Francis that we have been promised as a result of the Rome meeting. I would also urge any person who has been sexually abused by a person in authority in the Church to come forward. I promise you that you will be listened to and given the necessary support.

The Child Sexual Abuse scandal has also undermined the moral authority of the Church; that goes without saying. Who would listen to us now? So how do we recover from this desperate situation? I think there is ultimately only one way and that is to turn again to Christ and show the world that he is truly alive in our Church. Paradoxically the best way to go about this is to turn outwards to the world. Jesus came to bring the good news to the poor, to let the blind see, and make the lame walk, and that is what we should do too. There is a personal journey that we all have to take as we take this Lent seriously. Lent is an annual opportunity to put our own house in order by the traditional works of mercy, fasting and giving alms. There is also a journey we are making together towards Synod 2020. As you know the Synod will take place in October 2020 but as we walk together towards that moment, now is a time for listening to each other. Let us remember that listening to another person attentively is a real act of love where we show that we take that person seriously. Members of the Church at this time need more than ever to listen to each other. Your priest needs to listen to you, you need to listen to each other and that is why I want to hear what your ideas are for the Church of the future, as well as your concerns.

Thank you to all who came to pray at the opening of the Synod and to all Members who came to the excellent first series of Members meetings. On our Synod journey we are at the discerning and listening stage. Please look out for opportunities to gather in your parish or pastoral area for a Synod listening event. We hope to hear as many voices as possible because the Spirit of God will speak through you. If you have time, I would also like you to complete the on-line survey. Go to the Synod web site (Synod2020.co.uk) and click on the Synod Survey section.

Lent is not going to be easy this year but by its end I know that we will see the light of Easter chasing away the dark clouds of crisis. There are no quick fixes in this world but by patiently walking with the Lord we will once again be proud to call ourselves Christian.

May God bless each and every one of you and your families,

 + Malcolm

Archbishop of Liverpool


The Season of Lent

Saturday after Ash Wednesday

lent-6

Almsgiving

“What pleases the Lord is to let the oppressed go free… to share your bread… to shelter the homeless poor” (Isaiah 58: 6-7).

Some opportunities for almsgiving:

  1. CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development) – the Catholic aid agency for England and Wales. CAFOD is an international aid agency working to alleviate poverty and suffering in developing countries.
  2. Nugent – a registered charity which cares, educates and protects vulnerable children, young people and adults through schools, care homes, and community and social work services across the Archdiocese.
  3. Mary’s Meals aims to provide chronically hungry children with one meal every school day, encouraging education that can lift them out of poverty in later life.
  4. Poor Box (back of church) – donations are used weekly to help those who are struggling in our own community.

Friday after Ash Wednesday

fasting

Fasting

Lent is a season that calls us:

to fast from discontent and to feast on gratitude;
to fast from anger and to feast on patience;
to fast from bitterness and to feast on forgiveness;
to fast from self-concern and to feast on compassion;
to fast from discouragement and to feast on hope;
to fast from laziness and to feast on commitment;
to fast from complaining and to feast on acceptance;
to fast from lust and to feast on respect;
to fast from prejudice and to feast on understanding;
to fast from resentment and to feast on reconciliation;
to fast from lies and to feast on the truth;
to fast from wasted time and to feast on honest work;
to fast from grimness and to feast on joy;
to fast from suspicion and to feast on trust;
to fast from idle talk and to feast on prayer and silence;
to fast from guilt and to feast on the mercy of God.

(Based on a version often attributed to William Arthur Ward)

Thursday after Ash Wednesday

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Prayer

“Are there moments when you place yourself quietly in the Lord’s presence, when you calmly spend time with him, when you bask in his gaze? Do you let his fire inflame your heart?” – Pope Francis

Bring prayer into your day-to-day life this Lent. It only takes a minute of prayer to improve our entire day!

Some websites that may be helpful:

www.pray-as-you-go.org

www.sacredspace.ie

www.pathwaystogod.org

www.taize.fr/en

www.prayingeachday.org

 

Ash Wednesday

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Gospel  (Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-18)

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be careful not to parade your good deeds before men to attract their notice; by doing this you will lose all reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give alms, do not have it trumpeted before you; this is what the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win men’s admiration. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you give alms, your left hand must not know what your right is doing; your almsgiving must be secret, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

‘And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites: they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues and at the street corners for people to see them; I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you pray, go to your private room and, when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.

‘When you fast do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they pull long faces to let men know they are fasting. I tell you solemnly, they have had their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that no one will know you are fasting except your Father who sees all that is done in secret; and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.’

Thought

Prayer – Lent is essentially an act of prayer spread over 40 days. As we pray, we are brought closer to Christ and are changed by our encounter with him.

Fasting – The fasting that we do together on Fridays is a sign of the daily Lenten discipline of individuals and households: fasting for certain periods of time, fasting from certain foods, but also fasting from other things and activities.

Almsgiving – The giving of alms is an effort to share this world equally, not only through the distribution of money, but through the sharing of our time and talents.

(Adapted from US Conference of Catholic Bishops)

TEN IDEAS FOR LENT

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1) Caring for our Common Home

See article under ‘News’

2) Lent at Padgate Methodist Church

See article under ‘News’

3) Something a little different for Lent

See article under ‘News’

4) Bring Prayer into your Daily Life

If daily prayer has slipped out of your life, why not use Lent to get back into the habit of spending a few minutes in prayer each day? If you need some help, check out the websites: www.pray-as-you-go.org or www.sacredspace.ie Just one minute of prayer a day can make a difference to our entire day!

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5) Thought for the Day

There will be a thought, prayer or reflection posted on the parish website each day during Lent. There are also two free publications at the back of church which you may find helpful – “Lent Extra” and “Walk With Me”.

6) Stations of the Cross

The Stations of the Cross are a traditional devotion during Lent. They will be led by different individuals and groups each week.

St Oswald’s                 Thursdays during Lent at 7.30 pm
St Benedict’s               Fridays during Lent at 11.45 am (except 8 March & 12 April)

If you would like to take a turn in leading this devotion, please let Fr Dave know.

7) Drive nicely!

Do you get uptight or impatient when you’re behind the wheel? Do you berate others while ignoring your own mistakes or lack of awareness? If so, then why not make a change and drive nicely for Lent? You’ll feel so much better.

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8) Fasting & Abstinence

Fasting means reducing the amount of food we usually eat. Abstinence means giving up a particular kind of food or drink or form of amusement. Fasting binds those who are aged 18 to 59, while abstinence binds those who are 14 and over. Days of Fasting & Abstinence:   Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. We are also encouraged to fast on the Fridays of Lent, especially on CAFOD’s Lent Fast Day (Friday 15 March).

9) Prayer List

Perhaps the best gift we can give to another person is to pray for them. There’s a prayer list on the back page of the newsletter each week. Why not cut it out and stick it on your bathroom mirror? Then, every time you look in the mirror, pick a name and simply ask our Lord to bless that person.

10) Almsgiving

“What pleases the Lord is to let the oppressed go free… to share your bread… to shelter the homeless poor” (Isaiah 58: 6-7). Opportunities for almsgiving:

  1. CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development) – the Catholic aid agency for England and Wales. CAFOD is an international aid agency working to alleviate poverty and suffering in developing countries.
  2. Nugent – a registered charity which cares, educates and protects vulnerable children, young people and adults through schools, care homes, and community and social work services across the Archdiocese.
  3. Mary’s Meals aims to provide chronically hungry children with one meal every school day, encouraging education that can lift them out of poverty in later life.
  4. Poor Box (back of church) – donations are used weekly to help those who are struggling in our own community.

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SOME LENTEN IDEAS FOR CHILDREN

—Ask your mum or dad to bring you to Sunday Mass during Lent
—Save a penny a day for CAFOD or another charity
—Say a prayer before you go to bed at night
—Offer to do a five minute job around the house each day
—Use the Lenten Calendar for Children (available from Fr Dave)