Newsletter- 5th Week of Lent (Passion Sunday)

Dear Parishioners

The Fifth Sunday in Lent – Passion Sunday – strikes a different chord than previous Sundays in Lent. It seems the dial is turned up in our Lenten intensity. Our visual signal for this reality is the covering of statues, crosses, and holy images in our churches, a tradition which we keep here at St Mary’s as we enter Passiontide. From this weekend on we prepare ourselves more deeply for the coming observances of the Lord’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection.

With the “dialling up” of our Lenten intensity comes a deeper entrance into the drama and the mindset of the Lord in anticipation of His Passion. Every weekday Gospel during the Fifth Week of Lent will describe some different tension between Jesus and His adversaries. As we will see in the coming liturgies, Jesus will make bold statements about His divinity before the Jews, as they seek to kill Him for the crime of blasphemy.

When we reach this weekend, we realise we have all been on the journey of Lent for over five weeks now. It’s worth pondering as we enter Passiontide how God has worked in us and through us. Perhaps your own Lenten penances have uncovered in you some empty spaces (they certainly have in my own journey through Lent!)– Maybe you are feeling some boredom or loneliness or other feelings of unfulfilled desire. For example, perhaps you have discovered if you decided to forgo snacks between meals that you habitually ate out of boredom before or if you decided to give up social media maybe you have discovered that your social media fast has revealed a longing for connection. When we come face to face with those empty spaces in our lives, we need to ask ourselves how am I filling them? We can invite God into those empty spaces and ask Him how He wants us to fill them. Undoubtedly, God wants to fill them, often with a deeper love for Himself and for our neighbour. Love can really fill those empty spaces of our lives. It may not be as instantly gratifying, but a greater commitment to Jesus Christ and a greater love for the people around us and all that God has given to us or put into our lives is really in the end what can satisfy our human hearts. The empty spaces we have all discovered in our lives during Lent are really an opportunity and a means for us all to come closer to God and to one another. May be our prayer this week might be:

“Lord may your light and your truth guide me through these remaining days of Lent. Having been purified by repentance and having abstained from some earthly things, may my heart cling to You more fully. Fill my heart with a greater joy for You and of my faith, show me more fully all You may be calling me to be and do in life. So that I may be transformed through the power of your great love and come to enjoy a deeper union with You during the coming Easter season.”

Changes to Mass Times and Lent Liturgies this week:

Wednesday 20th March – Requiem Funeral Mass today – Rosemary Ames RIP – 11 am

Friday 22nd March – Requiem Funeral Mass – Werby (Alice) McHugh RIP – 11 am.

• No Confessions in church 6 pm – 6.45 pm

• First Holy Communion Candidates to lead Stations of the Cross in church – 6 pm

Prayer for our Confirmation Candidates on Retreat: This weekend our Confirmation Candidates will be making a short retreat together at The Briars Catholic Youth Retreat Centre in Crich, accompanied by some of our catechists. Please keep our young people in your prayers this weekend as they experience this important time away together on retreat in Derbyshire. Let us ask that Christ will touch their hearts and their lives afresh this weekend, and that their time away will deepen their personal commitment to him and to his Church.

With prayer and best wishes for you and for your families as we enter Passiontide,

Your parish priest and friend,

Fr Jonathan


2024 17th March – Newsletter – Download