WANT A FRESH START?
The Holy Season of Lent begins just over a month from now on Wednesday 6th March – making this year’s Easter one of the latest possible, on Sunday 21st April. Traditionally the season from Ash Wednesday to the Great Vigil of Easter is one of review, renewal and growth, and this year we are extending a invitation to everyone at St Paul’s to enter with a real desire to make a fresh start in their journey of faith and commitment.
To help you plan for the season, there will be an introductory session for those considering making the Lenten Journey, on Saturday 2nd February at 10:45 (repeated on Saturday 23rd February at the same time for any who can’t make the first date). The short session, starting with coffee and ending after mass at 12:30, will give participants a chance both to have an overview of what is planned for and available in the 40 days of Lent and to undertake a short review of where they are and therefore what might be the focus for them this year. One size doesn’t fit all: so this will be the chance to tailor your own Lenten programme.
Those who do wish to embark on the journey will then attend the Ash Wednesday liturgy on Wednesday 6th March at 7pm – as an opportunity to return symbolically to God, to draw a line under what has been, and to be assured in that service of God’s forgiveness, acceptance and grace for the days ahead.
On Sunday 10th March (Lent 1) at 09:00 and 11:00 there will be a public rite of enrollment. All those who are committed to the Lenten process will sign the book as a token of their seriousness – and will stand together with fellow travelers in moment of public commitment. Bishop Michael will preside over our enrollment and will bless those who are embarking on the journey.
Throughout Lent there will be opportunities for study, reflection and discussion. Some will want to come along on Wednesday Evenings for three times of reflection on ‘vocation’, belief’ and ‘prayer’; others who are intention-rich but time-poor are invited to join us ‘virtually’ in our Zoom Discussion Room on Sunday afternoons – with sessions for children at 4pm and for adults at 6pm. All you require to join is a PC /tablet with an internet connection (full details of how to join will be given to those who enroll on the 10th March). This means you can study, reflect and learn at home but in the company of others making the same journey.
On Saturday 6th April there will be a Quiet Morning in church – open to all who are on the Lenten Journey – and the journey will culminate with the Renewal of Baptismal Promises and Baptism/Confirmation at the Great Vigil of Easter on Saturday 20th April at 8:30pm. The Vigil and First Mass of Easter is the year’s greatest liturgy and the traditional time for renewal and for welcoming new Christians into the Church.
If you are not yet baptized; or if you are baptized but not confirmed; or if you are both but simply want to recommit and refresh your discipleship, Lent 2019 will be the time for a Fresh Start.
I’ll be happy to discuss the journey with you on the 2nd or 23rd February.
Fr Alan Gyle