Newsletter – 1st Week of Lent 2022

Dear Parishioners

On Ash Wednesday we began our Lenten journey together. During these 40 days we are remembering the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert, the temptations he experienced there and his time of prayer and fasting. Lent is a time for each of us to become more deeply aware of our faith and a time to deepen that faith by practical actions. During this penitential season, as we journey with Christ so we embrace a period of penance, prayer and works of charity, as we make our way with Christ towards Holy Week and then journey onwards towards the great joy of the Resurrection and all that Easter brings.

During Lent we try to choose ways once again to help us to walk more fully in the footsteps of Christ as we seek to recommit ourselves to living as He lived and as we seek to love God and our brothers and sisters more deeply. We do this through the three ancient remedies of Fasting, Almsgiving and Penance. Ancient remedies which can be life enhancing and that can help us to live more authentically our Christian vocation. On this First Sunday of Lent let us ask for God’s grace to help us in our Lenten disciplines, in our Christian discipleship and in our Christian witness in the world in which we live. Let us pray that our faith may be strengthened during this penitential season and that our Lenten resolutions may remain clear and firm. I pray that each of us may experience during Lent this year a real awakening to the Love that is God and the place of God in our lives, and that as a community of faith we may follow together our Lord Jesus Christ more fully day by day and come to know him more completely as our brother and our friend.

Visit of the University of Nottingham Catholic Society: This coming Tuesday evening, 8th March, we welcome to our Holy Hour and Parish Mass some of my former students from the University of Nottingham Catholic Society. Christopher Howitt, the Catholic Lay Chaplain there will be staying with me for a couple of days this week and asked me a while ago if some of the members of CATHSOC could visit our parish too. The students will come by train, and I hope after Mass that evening to offer them some simple refreshments in the parish hall before they travel back to Nottingham. Any members of the parish attending Mass that evening will be most welcome to join us for simple refreshments in the hall after Mass and to meet the students.

Change of date for First Holy Communion Stations of the Cross: The Rector of St. Wulfram, Anglican church in Grantham was in touch with me last week to invite me to attend the Reception of the Relic of St. Wulfram into his church on Friday 18th March. This should have taken place in 2020 but due to the Covid pandemic was postponed. This event is both unique and hugely historic as representatives of the Abbot of Wandrille, will present/gift the Relic of Wulfram from their Abbey in France to St. Wulfram’s Anglican church in Grantham. This is a rare and special privilege for them and for all the people of Grantham as the community gifting the Relic is a Catholic Community and it is only the second time in modern history that such a remarkable ecumenical act of faith, love and trust has been carried out. Given the importance of this event for our local community I have agreed to attend all the ceremonies that afternoon/evening. This means that Stations of the Cross which was to be led by our First Holy Communion candidates on Friday 18th March at 6 pm will now take place the day before in church, Thursday 17th March at 6 pm and there will be no Confessions on Friday 18th March in the evening.

Walk with Me”: A Journey of Prayer for Lent 2022: To help us reflect and pray more fully each day during Lent I have arranged for copies of “Walk with Me” to be made available for everyone in the parish There are still some copies left for those who may not have taken a copy yet. These are available on the table as you come into church. In the front of the booklet, you will find a Preface written by Bishop Patrick specifically for our diocese and reflecting upon our diocesan theme for Lent this year: “Encountering the Crucified Christ.”

A date for your diary: On Tuesday 5th April we shall host one of the Deanery Lenten Reconciliation Services here at St. Mary’s. This will replace our normal Tuesday evening liturgies and will take place in church from 7-8pm. I have invited three priests from our local deanery to come to hear confessions that evening during this time of silent prayer and reflection before the Blessed Sacrament. The service will conclude with Benediction at 7.45 pm.

Please do check further on in this Bulletin for the times of our Lenten Liturgies and for information about Holy Week. 

Prayer for the People of Ukraine: Our Holy Father designated Ash Wednesday this year as a special day of Prayer and Fasting for the people of the Ukraine. You will have seen that a simple prayer for the people of Ukraine, Crucifix and a Perpetual candle have been placed before the Altar in church, these will remain there throughout Lent. They mark our solidarity as a parish, with all the people of the Ukraine living around the world and as we pray for an imminent restoration of peace, dialogue, and human fraternity in the Ukraine. A copy of the Prayer for the Ukraine has been reproduced and is included in this week’s Bulletin and I encourage you to use this and to pray it at home.

CAFOD – Lent 2022 – Next Sunday, 13th March, 2nd Sunday of Lent we shall have a retiring collection for the work of CAFOD. In addition, you will find a CAFOD poster and CAFOD Lent envelopes in the entrance of the church for you to make donations to their work throughout Lent. The poster gives information about the Family Fast Day on Friday 11th March. The CAFOD envelopes with any donations given by you will be added to the retiring collection from next Sunday and all the monies raised will be sent to CAFOD at the end of Lent. These envelopes can be placed in the collection plate at either the Saturday evening or Sunday morning Masses throughout Lent.

With prayer and best wishes for you and your families during Lent,

Your parish priest and friend,

Fr Jonathan


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