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
WEDNESDAYS EVENINGS IN LENT
Lent Study Group
Mass at 6.30pm, Study at 7.15pm (except 13th March: Mass at 6pm, Study at 6.45pm)
‘Jesus never intended to start a Church’ say critics of traditional Church, both from within and without. Too often, we too reduce the Church to merely a human institution, an accidental (and often undesirable) by-product of the Jesus event. Catholic Christians – be they Roman, Anglican or Orthodox are faced with the task of defending the historic faith of the Church (and settling their own doubts about it) and sharing with joy that it in the life of the Church that we encounter Christ. We’ll be using Thomas Plant’s new book ‘The Catholic Jesus’ to explore these themes, discussing a different chapter each week. To receive a copy to keep or borrow, speak to one of the clergy.
FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT, 10TH MARCH – 5PM
Directed by Gabriel Axel (1987). In 1871, a French (Catholic) woman arrives in a rather inward-looking Danish (Protestant) village and finds work looking after two elderly ladies. She wins the lottery and organizes a great feast. A film about the transforming, graceful power of generosity. With Stéphane Audran. Won Oscar for Best film in a foreign language. (In Danish, Swedish and a little French, with English subtitles, 1 hour 42 minutes)
SATURDAY 23RD MARCH
From St James’s to St Pancras Old Church 10.30AM
We’ll be taking a route, mainly following the canal, from Paddington to St Pancras Old Church, where last Advent we had a Quiet Day. The route will take in a number of stops for prayer, including the original site of St James’s at Paddington Green, St John’s Wood Church, St Mark’s Regent’s Park. We’ll have a cup of tea and lunch en route. It’s a pretty flat route (apart from Primrose Hill) of about 3.5 miles: we won’t race, but you will need to be able to manage a steady walk for a few hours.
The Great Simnel Cake Bake Off 2019
SUNDAY 31ST 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.
SUNDAY 31ST MARCH
This evening service of prayer, song and adoration—centred around the exposition of the Sacrament—provides time and space to be in the presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham
TUESDAY 2ND – SATURDAY 6TH APRIL
A group of pilgrims will be heading to Norfolk and to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham: 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 2nd April.
FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT
Choral Evensong & Benediction – 6PM
PASSION SUNDAY – SUNDAY 7TH APRIL
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 14TH APRIL – 21ST APRIL
SUNDAY 14TH 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
15TH, 16TH & 17TH 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 20TH APRIL
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 21ST 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.