EVENTS IN LENT
WHAT IS LENT?
Lent is a time of preparation – lasting 40 days – for the events of Holy Week & Easter. Easter was traditionally the time when baptisms were celebrated, and the time when those who had become separated from the communion of the Church because of their serious sins were restored to the Church’s fellowship. This means that Lent has a solemn character. It is the season of the year where the disciplines of penitence, self-examination, self-denial & study are practised. Almsgiving has also traditionally been associated with Lent.
Originally these Lenten disciplines were adopted by candidates for baptism and penitents preparing themselves to be readmitted to communion, but it became the custom for the whole Christian community to join in the process of study, preparation and repentance. The Lenten disciplines happened over forty days to remind Christians of the forty days that Jesus spent in the wilderness, being tested by Satan.
Ashes are an ancient sign of penitence, and from the Middle Ages it became the custom to begin Lent by being marked in ash with the sign of the cross. It is for that reason that the first day of Lent – Ash Wednesday – is so called.
Liturgical dress is at its simplest during Lent. Churches are kept bare of flowers and decoration. The Gloria in excelsis is not said or sung. The joyful word alleluia is not used. However, the Fourth Sunday of Lent (known variously as Laetare or Refreshment Sunday) was provided as a day of relief from the rigours of fasting – it is the day on which in more recent times the Church has kept Mothering Sunday.
As Holy Week approaches, the atmosphere of the season darkens; the readings begin to anticipate the story of Christ’s suffering and death, and the reading of the Passion Narrative gives to the Fifth Sunday of Lent its name – Passion Sunday. From this day, images in church are veiled: a further stripping back of ornamentation in preparation for the desolation of Good Friday.
Mass with the Imposition of Ashes 12.30pm
Solemn Mass with Imposition of Ashes 7.30pm
THURSDAY EVENINGS IN LENT
Lent Study Group
Mass at 6.30pm, Study at 7.15pm
27TH FEBRUARY, 5TH, 19TH MARCH; 2ND APRIL
‘Secularism and fundamentalist religion are the squabbling siblings of our age…they are born of the same womb.’ How can Christianity touch the imagination of our contemporaries when ever fewer people in the West identify as religious? Dominican Priest Timothy Radcliffe argues that in a world viewed with a deadened and reductionist eye and shaped by ‘the globalisation of superficiality’ we must show how everything we believe is an invitation to live fully. God says: ‘I put before you life and death: choose life’. We’ll discuss a chapter in each session of this accessible and insightful book. To buy or borrow a copy, speak to one of the clergy
SATURDAY 7RD MARCH
From St James’s at 10.30AM
Last year, our Lent Walk took us along the canal to the very ancient St Pancras Old Church, stopping to pray at various churches and sites on the way, and for a bit of lunch too. This year, we will walk the other way, heading West, stopping at St Mary Magdalene’s Church on the canal, past the house boats and green areas of Ladbroke Grove and ending at the fascinating Kensal Green Cemetery: what better place to digest ‘Dust thou art and to dust thou shalt return’! But don’t worry, this won’t be a gloomy day. A prayer walk is a great way to experience familiar (or perhaps not so familiar) places in a new way, recognising God’s presence and praying for his blessing upon homes and lives, parishes and churches.
We’ll have our lunch and a cup of tea at the Church of St John the Evangelist, Kensal Green, from where the Vicar, Fr David Ackerman, will accompany us over the road to the Cemetery to point out some notable tombs, before we head home by bus, train, or, for the very keen, on foot.
Auschwitz – A personal reflection
Mass at 6.30pm, talk at 7.15pm
WEDNESDAY 11TH MARCH
In this 75th anniversary year of the liberation of Auschwitz, Fr Paul offers a reflection upon a visit he made to what remains of the camp and to the cell of
St Maximillian Kolbe, a priest imprisoned for resisting the Nazi regime and when in the camp offered his life in place of another.
The Great Simnel Cake Bake Off 2020
SUNDAY 22ND MARCH
Baking a Simnel Cake on Mothering Sunday is an English tradition. The cake—a fruit cake layered and covered with marzipan—is classically topped with eleven marzipan balls, representing the disciples (Judas must have rolled off already). After the High Mass there will be a Simnel Cake Bake off! Bring your entries along with you to church: awards will be given for flavour and decoration.
FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT, 22ND MARCH
PALM SUNDAY, 5TH APRIL
‘Au revoir les enfants’ 5PM
PLEASE SEE PDF FOR DETAILS
Hereford & the Welsh Borders
TUESDAY 24TH – FRIDAY 27TH MARCH
A group of pilgrims will be heading to Abergavenny, from where they will visit and pray at the Shrine of St Thomas Cantilupe at Hereford Cathedral and other holy sites on the Welsh side of the border. Although the pilgrimage is now full, you can still participate. On the Sundays of Lent there will be an opportunity to write down your prayer requests – for yourself, for others, for the world – which the pilgrims will take with them, to offer them daily on your behalf. You can also come to wave them off at the Pilgrim Mass at 9am on Tuesday 24th March.
FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT – PASSION SUNDAY
Meditatio for Passiontide
SUNDAY 29TH MARCH 6PM
Friends from other churches in Paddington Deanery will join us for this evening service of prayer, song and adoration—centred around the exposition of the Sacrament—in which we will meditate upon the themes of the coming days of Passiontide and Holy Week in the presence of Christ in the
ULTIMATELY, IN THE BATTLE AGAINST LIES AND VIOLENCE, TRUTH AND LOVE HAVE NO OTHER WEAPON THAN THE WITNESS OF SUFFERING.
– POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT XVI
HOLY WEEK 5TH – 12TH APRIL
SUNDAY 5TH APRIL
Liturgy of the Palms, Procession & High Mass 10.30am
The first day of Holy Week begins with much ceremony as palm crosses and branches are blessed & carried in the open air, and we go in a loud procession through the local streets and into Church, recalling the Triumphal Entry of Christ into Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday.
MONDAY, TUESDAY & WEDNESDAY OF HOLY WEEK
6TH, 7TH & 8TH APRIL
7.15pm Supper (soup, bread & cheese)
8.30pm Holy Week Address
8.40pm Compline (lasting 10 mins)
A Priest is available to hear confessions can from 8-8.30pm each evening. Feel free to come to one, some, or all of the evening.
Mass of the Last Supper & Watch until Midnight 7.30pm
The events of Maundy Thursday are dramatic. In the Mass we commemorate how Christ on the first Maundy Thursday instituted the Holy Communion at his Last Supper. We also commemorate how he washed the feet of The Twelve as an example of his servanthood, and how our Lord then went in obedience to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray and to await his betrayal. The service ends abruptly with the stripping of the altars and a silent Watch until Midnight.
Children’s Stations of the Cross 10am
A short service for children and families that moves around the Church telling the story of Good Friday. Hot Cross Buns are served afterwards.
The Liturgy of the Passion 1.30pm
A solemn liturgy that commemorates and leads us into the mysterious self-giving and suffering of Christ upon the Cross. A large cross is carried high (‘proclaimed’) and venerated by the faithful, and Holy Communion is distributed from the pre-sanctified gifts.
HOLY SATURDAY – EASTER EVE
SATURDAY 11TH APRIL
Cleaning and Preparation of the Church 10.30am
The church is made spic and span for the greatest night of the year. In preparing the Church, so to we prepare ourselves to keep the great feast of Easter.
This seemingly mundane activity is full of expectancy and excitement: come along and lend a hand.
Lighting of the Paschal Fire, Vigil & First Mass of Easter 9pm
‘Most blessed of all nights, chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead!’
This most glorious of services begins outside in darkness with the lighting of a new fire, from which the Paschal (Easter) candle is lit— the symbol of the Resurrection—and brought into the empty church. A hymn of praise called the Exsultet is sung to the Resurrection, and a sequence of readings follows which takes us from Creation to Resurrection. The Easter Acclamation is proclaimed: ‘Christ is Risen!’, a merry noise is made, and the first Mass of Easter is celebrated. In addition the waters of the Font are blessed and our baptismal vows renewed.
SUNDAY 12TH APRIL
Procession & High Mass 10.30am
The Resurrection is proclaimed with great joy at the High Mass on Easter morning.
The Mass is followed by an Easter Egg Hunt for children.
Festal Evensong 6pm
THEN GRANT US, LORD, THIS WEEK TO TRACE THY PASSION AND THY LOVE, AND BY THINE ALL-INSPIRING GRACE UPLIFT OUR HEARTS ABOVE
SOME SIMPLE WAYS TO KEEP A HOLY LENT
- Even if it is just committing to creating one quiet moment in the day to say the Our Father. If you want more material to inspire prayer, you could look up the daily scripture readings (printed in Focus each week)
- Come to Mass in the week: you could choose one day in the week to come. Not every Parish has a daily Mass, but we do here at St James’s: make the most of it.
- Review prayerfully each day before you go to bed, and commit the night and the coming day into God’s hands.
- Come and make your Confession. There’ll be a Priest available every Monday and Friday from 5.15pm and every Wednesday from Midday.
- Even if just on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Or perhaps every Friday in Lent. And it could just be for the day time.
- You might instead go without something for the duration of Lent.
- If you are fasting or giving things up, don’t make a show of it! Let it be between you and God.
- Make an intentional gift every week to someone in need – it doesn’t have to be money: it could be time, food, resources…
- Give more than what you usually give to charity: you could give to the Bishop’s Lent Appeal, or another worthy cause.
- Review what you give to St James’s and help resource our worship and witness in Paddington.