Ash Wednesday in St Helen’s

Cross of AshesThis Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, a day of fasting and abstinence, and the beginning of the great and central double Season of Lent / Easter. As well as morning Mass with the distribution of Ashes (at the new time of 10am), we will also have a Service of the Word with the distribution of Ashes in the evening, at 7.00pm, to make it possible for us all to set out on this lenten journey of redirecting our lives back to God and preparing to enter again into the New Life of Christ through the Easter Pass-over.

Here is a Pastoral Letter Lent for 5th Sunday of the Year from Archbishop George Stack (Copies of the Archbishop’s letter for Lent are available in the porch in the church).

The 1st Deanery Lent Station Mass will be here in Saint Helen’s this Thursday, 14th February: the Bishop mentions the Station Masses as part of our Lenten discipline, an invitation to set out on the Journey to Easter with our Bishop and our neighbouring Parishes. We are hosts for the first: Let us give our guests a good welcome.

Did you know..?

  • Ash Wednesday falls 46 days before Easter.
  • Ashes are a symbol of penance made sacramental by the blessing of the Church, and they help us develop a spirit of humility and sacrifice
  • The ashes are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year. The ashes are christened with Holy Water and are scented by exposure to incense
  • Ash Wednesday can fall as early as February 4 or as late as March 10
  • This practice is common in much of Christendom, being celebrated by Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists, , and some Baptist denominations
  • In the Catholic Church, ashes, being sacramentals, may be given to anyone who wishes to receive them, as opposed to Catholic sacraments, which are generally reserved for church members, except in cases of grave necessity
  • In the Catholic Church, Ash Wednesday is observed by fasting, abstinence from meat, and repentance—a day of contemplating one’s transgressions
  • As the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday comes the day after Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), the last day of the Carnival season.

(Source:  Catholic Online)

What Does the Bible Tell Us About the Way We Live?

year-of-faithThis Lent, as part of the Pope’s ‘Year of Faith’, we are invited to open up the Bible together: How do we use it? What questions does it ask of us? What would we like to ask of it? There is a box in the porch for any questions you would like to ask, or any suggestions of areas we could look at together. These may or may not be taken up on the Fridays of Lent, when we will have ‘Half an Hour with the Bible’ in the presbytery, at about 7.45pm, after the Way of the Cross.

Reading the Council for the Year of Faith

To start us off with the second of the for great Documents of the Second Vatican Council, ‘Sacrosanctum Concilium’, the Document on the Liturgy, Father Ambrose Walsh will put it into context for us in what promises to be an informative and illuminating introduction on Tuesday, 5th February at 6.30pm in the Hall. All welcome! Then in Lent we will have an opportunity to read through and discuss the document together on Tuesday afternoons.

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

On Friday we begin The Week of Prayer for CHRISTIAN UNITY. Through our Baptism, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, called to life together in heaven in his Body the Church. The first place we can start this is in prayer. So our fellow Christians will come to join us at Mass next Saturday evening: This is ‘out of their comfort zone’ for many of them, so please extend a warm welcome, and be helpful and careful to any visitors who sit by you. We are then invited to join the Archbishop in Saint David’s Cathedral for an ecumenical celebration of Vespers at 3pm next Sunday, and then to join our Christian neighbours again in Prayers at 7pm on Wednesday 23rd in Saint Andrew’s church.

The Year of Faith – Called to Go Deep in Faith, Go Out in Witness.

A fascinating Introduction and overview Father Nicholas James last Wednesday gave us a good start on the Vatican Council document on Revelation, ‘Dei Verbum’. We will go on from there with a shared reading of the document on Tuesday at 2pm, and the following Tuesday, 4th December, we will look at ‘Amazed and Afraid: The Revelation of God become Man’ from the DVD ‘Catholicism’.

Here is an excerpt from that 1-hour episode:

In Lent we will move on to ‘Sacrosanctum Concilium’ the decree on the Liturgy, then ‘Lumen Gentium’, on the Church, in Eastertide

Children’s Mass this Sunday

Everyone is very welcome to our Family Mass on Sunday (25th November). The liturgy will be led by the children in year 5. Please join us after Mass for refreshments in the Community Hall. As only one year group is leading our liturgy on this occasion, all the children who attend are invited to sit with them and the teachers in their school uniform on the right hand wing of the church. We look forward to seeing you on Sunday.

Talk by Father Nicholas James

Called to Go Deep in Faith, Go Out in Witness.
On Wednesday evening at 7pm, Father Nicholas James will give us an Introduction to the Vatican Council document on Revelation, ‘Dei Verbum’, as part of Deepening and Refreshing our Faith as requested by the Pope for the Year of Faith. In the following weeks we will have an opportunity to read through the document together.
To help copies of the document are on sale in the porch, £3 each, or a pack of the 4 major documents for £12.