Second Week of Lent

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.

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‘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

ash-wednesday

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

lent

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!

lent-2

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.

lent-4

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.

lent-5

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)