Dear friends in Christ
Lent began on Wednesday with the urgent call that we take seriously this time of purification which, in the words of St Paul is the favourable time, the day of salvation. By custom each year on this Sunday the Bishop writes a Pastoral letter to the Clergy and Faithful of the Diocese. This year the Letter from our Bishop has a special importance because he is communicating to us some important news about future planning within our Diocese. For some months now a group of us have been meeting - clergy and lay faithful - to discern ways in which we can make better use of our Diocesan resources and prepare for future expansion. The Diocese of Brentwood is now the fourth largest in the country and is expanding: we have a constant influx of new Catholics, especially at the London-end of the Diocese - and elsewhere towns are growing. We are seeking to find new initiatives to promote priestly vocations and heighten the sense of vocation within all of the members of the Church. All this is necessary and possible if we are going to take to heart the call to be missionary disciples of Jesus Christ. Please take and read the literature that is being distributed today with the Newsletter and reflect in this Lenten season upon ways that we can live the Works of Mercy and discern ways in which we can each be a more effective proclaimer of the Truth of our Catholic Faith.
During each Friday in Lent there will be an extra Mass at 6.30am and the Way of the Cross with Benediction at 8pm. Please pray for the ten candidates from our Parish Family who will be presented to the Bishop in the Cathedral this Sunday in the Rite of Election; as they prepare for the Sacraments at Easter or later on in the year, may they grow in faith, commitment and relationship with Our Lord. Last Sunday our First Communion children presented their portrait photos during Mass; these will be displayed, as in previous years, on the special board in the Lady Chapel; please remember to hold them and their families in your prayers. If we all live each day and moment of Lent with a sincere and contrite heart, then we will surely experience joy of repentance, forgiveness and restored spiritual vigour. May God bless us as we embark on these Forty Days!
Msgr Kevin Hale