Newsletter- 1st Week of Lent

Dear Parishioners

As Strange as it may seem coming so soon after Christmas, this is the First Sunday of Lent. On Ash Wednesday we began our Lenten Pilgrimage together. Our gospel this Sunday sees Jesus being led by the Spirit into the wilderness (the desert) where he remained fasting for forty days and forty nights.

The desert in Jewish history was very important. When God freed and saved the People of Israel from slavery in Egypt, they spent forty years in the desert. They wandered and sometimes got lost as they tried to find their way to the Promised Land. This was not an easy journey for them. At times they lost faith in each other and in God. They forgot the promise that God made with them: ‘I will be your God and you will be my people.’ Our gospel this morning reminds us that it was in the desert that Jesus was tried, tested, and tempted. However, Jesus refused to give up or to give in so quickly or so easily to the devil’s promptings. 

As we begin our Lenten journey today, we need to recall and remember that we are not setting out on these next 40 days on our own. God is with us walking by our side every step of way. When we are tempted, we need to follow the example of Jesus. He did not rely on his own strength. He turned to God and asked for help which he received. We need to realise that like Jesus, we too need God’s help, support, guidance, and protection. Whenever we feel tired or ready to give up or to give in, we need to turn to God for encouragement. We know that God will be with us during Lent as God was with Jesus when he was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights. God will never leave us in our struggles and His love for us never comes to an end.

Weekdays in Lent: You will see in the Bulletin the times of the scheduled extra periods of Confession, Exposition and Stations of the Cross taking place in the parish during Lent. The Holy Week Liturgies can also be found in this week’s Bulletin. 

Walk With Me: A Journey of Prayer for Lent 2023This year the Diocese of Nottingham are not publishing their own bespoke copies of this popular Lenten prayer resource, but to help each of us reflect and pray more fully each day during Lent I have arranged for copies of Walk with Me – Lent 2023 to be made available in our parish for purchase at just £1 a copy. They are available on the table as you come into church. In the front of the booklet, you will find a Preface written by Cardinal Vincent Nicholls. This year’s Lenten Walk with Me invites each of us to rediscover the Psalms, just as the disciples did as they walked together on the road to Emmaus. The Risen Lord said: ‘Everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled. Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures’ (Luke 24:44). I hope you will find these of use as we journey together as individuals and as a parish community during the coming 40 days of Lent.

CAFOD – Family Fast Day – 3rd March: Envelopes for making donations to the Family Fast Day will be available from Ash Wednesday as you come into church and donations can be put into the envelopes provided and placed in the Mass collection plate at all our Sunday Masses celebrated over the weekend of 25th /26th February and 4th /5th March. The theme for this year is: Growing in Strength rooted in Love. 

Andrew Wakley – Ministry of Lector: On Sunday 5th March during the evening Mass at St Barnabas Cathedral at 6 pm, Andrew will be admitted into the ministry of lector by bishop Patrick. Andrew as you know is currently training for the permanent diaconate. While the road of discernment is often challenging, it is also filled with many memorable moments. One such moment is when a candidate in formation receives their first important ministry that of lector. The Institution of Lector entrusts the candidate to study and proclaim the Word of God at Holy Mass. The moment of conferral is presented in a way that underscores the importance of Scripture and the role it plays in the ministry of a candidate seeking to be ordained. Andrew will kneel before bishop Patrick and will be given a Bible. In so doing Andrew will accept the responsibility of exemplifying the message of salvation through prayer and the proclamation of the Word. Study and meditation of the Word of God is an essential part of a candidate’s formation. The love for God’s Scripture also enables a candidate to serve their respective parish community with greater humility, mindful that they will always be seen as beacons of light, committed to service and to prayer. The two ministries of Lector and Acolyte (the next ministry which Andrew will hopefully receive later this year) are part of the important steps towards ordination to the permanent diaconate and they demonstrate the Church’s confidence in a candidates call and preparation for this important ministry. The permanent diaconate responds to the call of Jesus and His Church in three specific ways: through the ministry of Charity, the ministry of the Word and the ministry of the Altar. Please keep Andrew and his family in your prayers at this time.

With prayer for you and for your families as we begin our Lenten journey together,

Your parish priest and friend,

Father Jonathan


2023 26th February– Newsletter – Download