FEBRUARY IS THE MONTH OF THE HOLY FAMILY
The Seventh Week of Ordinary Time/ Ash Wednesday
PREPARING FOR LENT AT ST. THOMAS MORE.
Prayer, fasting and almsgiving give shape to our Lenten Journey.
1. When we pray we recall:
‘ I have seen you in the sanctuary and behold your power and glory. Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you’ ( Psalm 63: 2) Pick up a copy of this Lent’s ‘Walk with Me – A Journey of Prayer for Lent 2023’ This excellent booklet gives us material for daily reflection and supports our commitment to re-directing our lives to God, starting with prayer, this Lent. Archbishop Vincent Nicholls says in the Introduction to ‘Walk with Me’ :
‘Once again we are on the pilgrimage together, nourished by prayer, strengthened and sustained by the Eucharist. We travel towards our great goal, the great feast of Easter Sunday when we renew our baptismal promises and celebrate the Risen Lord’. The Lenten ‘Walk with Me’ invites 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)
You can pick up a copy of ‘Walk with Me’ at the doors of the church for a donation of £1.00. Children’s editions will be distributed to all our First Holy Communion children and other children in the parish. We will also be handing out the ‘Walk with Me’ Lent calendars. Also this year, we will be offering ‘Day by Day’ for Lent to our infants and juniors.
All parishioners of all ages are encouraged to join us for THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS at least once during Lent at 7.30 p.m. on Friday evenings, starting on Friday 3rd March. Also for your diary are the March Devotions to St. Joseph, holy patron of the Church on Sunday 19th March at 4.00 p.m.
Finally, you are welcome to join Patricia in the house for Lenten Reflections - and coffee- after the 10.00 o'clock mass on Fridays, from this coming Friday.
2. We are also called to Fast:
Unless it is a solemnity of falls in an octave, every Catholic, in loving memory of the Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ, should not eat meat on Fridays. This is also an act of penance: an offering to God in sorrow for our sins. In Lent we are called to set our hearts and minds to this more. Here are some traditional approaches:
Fast on Fridays and for Lent, on Wednesdays too. Eat less, cut out meat and all rich foods. Miss one meal and eat simply. For those wanting to take it further, adopt a full non- meat and dairy diet for all of Lent. In Christian tradition, a modern vegan diet, is for Christians, an ancient form of penance, sacrifice and purification. This is still practised by many Christians for all of Lent.
As a family, you might also observe CAFOD FAMILY FAST DAY, which is on Friday 3rd March. Eat simply that day and pray for those who are hungry and any money you save, give to the Cafod Family Fast Day Lent Appeal.
3. Give to charity (almsgiving):
i) As ever, the Parish is supporting the CAFOD FAMILY FAST DAY LENT APPEAL.
This Lent, CAFOD is supporting families with the skills and tools they’ve asked for to fight the climate crisis. In Bangladesh, 14-year-old Dristy and her mum Rupali are building seed beds and planting palm trees to protect their crops from flooding and cyclones. Give today to help families grow in strength to adapt to the climate crisis. Next Sunday, there will be a talk at Sunday masses and the following Sunday there will be a collection in church using the envelopes provided or you can give online at cafod.org.uk/lent.
You can watch a short video on the CAFOD Lent Appeal on YouTube by following the link below.
Also this Lent, please support our elderly, retired priests by supporting the:
i) Clergy Support Fund Second Collection 2023
The Clergy Support Fund of the Archdiocese of Southwark provides care for priests in their old age and retirement, and in their time of ill health. A gift to this worthy fund will ensure a dignified retirement for our priests, after they have dedicated a lifetime of service to Christ, His Church and His People.
In 2022, the Clergy Support Fund provided care to 73 retired priests, at a cost of £1.33 million. With the number of priests over the age of 65 steadily increasing, so too will the financial obligation to the Archdiocese.
Please be generous today with a gift to the Clergy Support Fund and continue to keep our priests in your prayers.
· Donate Online: https://rcaos.org.uk/donate/csf
· QR Code (see right)
· Telephone Mon-Fri 9am-5pm: 020 7960 2504
· Cash / Cheque – please use the Clergy Support Fund envelopes at the back of church.
LENT IS A PENITENTIAL SEASON
Finally, let us remember, that prayer, fasting and almsgiving are all aspects of penance, and that Lent is THE penitential season. Lent is absolutely not about giving up things for ‘self improvement’ and making yourself beach-ready, but denying the self in order to become more like Christ. To truly enter the pentitential spirit of Lent in prayer, fasting and giving alms,, we must go to the greatest act of Penance of them all, and that is to attend THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE given to us by Our Lord Jesus Christ. In this sacrament, all the good works of our prayer, fasting and almsgiving will bear fruit in the absolution given to us and the healing God gives the broken soul. If you regularly receive Holy Communion, you need to be making your confession at least once a year, and the most necessary time is Lent, before taking Holy Communion at Easter. The Church tells us:
‘Each of the faithful is bound by and obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year. Anyone who is aware of having committed a mortal sin must not receive Holy Communion, without first having received sacramental absolution’ (Cathechism 1457).
May you have a good lent through prayer, fasting and almsgiving, but above all, may it bear fruit for your soul through the humble confession of sins in the Sacrament of Penance.
PARISH YOUTH NOTICES
MASSES AND INTENTIONS FOR THE SEVENTH WEEK OF ORDINARY TIME
FEBRUARY PRAYER FOR CATHOLIC FAMILIES