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 THROUGHOUT LENT
Lunchtime Mass 12.30pm
A priest will be available to hear Confessions from Midday
WEDNESDAY EVENINGS IN LENT
21ST , 28TH FEBRUARY; 7TH, 14TH , 21ST MARCH
Lent Study Group Mass at 6.30pm, Study at 7.15pm
The figure of St Paul looms large in the New Testament (he wrote rather a lot of it!), yet many Christians claim an aversion to the man and his writings. Using Bishop Rowan William’s book ‘Meeting God in Paul’ to guide us through the scriptures about him and by him, we will encounter afresh this complex and intriguing man and the God who transformed him from enemy of the cross to Apostle to the Gentiles.
The book gives a Bible reading guide for every day in Lent and a reflection for each Sunday. To borrow (or keep) a copy of the book, please ask one of the clergy.
SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT
SUNDAY 25TH FEBRUARY
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.
THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT
SUNDAY 4TH MARCH
Choral Evensong 6pm
SUNDAY 11TH MARCH
The Great Simnel Cake Bake Off 2018
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. Entries from a previous Simnel Cake Bake Off
SATURDAY 17TH MARCH
St Vedast-alias-Foster in the City of London 11am-4pm
Tucked away off Cheapside and a short walk from St Paul’s Cathedral, the Church of St Vedast-alias-Foster is a tranquil oasis in the heart of the City of London. The Church, meeting room, kitchen and little courtyard garden will be ours for a day to find some space for prayer & quiet this Lent. As part of the day we will attend the 12.30pm Mass at St Paul’s Cathedral, and those that want to can stay on for Choral Evensong at 5pm to finish the day. All you’ll need to bring is a packed lunch.
PASSION SUNDAY 18TH MARCH
‘Bagdad Café’ 6pm
Bagdad Café (original title: Out of Rosenheim) is not a religious film, in the sense that it has no overtly biblical or religious story, but its German director draws heavily on his Catholic cultural roots. It is a light-hearted film about serious things: similarity and ‘otherness’; German (European) and American values; but above all how an outsider can, gracefully, bring beauty and harmony to a group of disconnected human beings who live in the American desert, a wilderness disfigured by modern life. The film lasts 95 minutes and is visually stunning with a haunting original song as part of its soundtrack. The dialogue, apart from a short exchange in the opening scene, is in English.
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 25TH MARCH – 1ST APRIL
SUNDAY 25TH MARCH
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.
Through prayer, meditative chant and stillness will anticipate the coming themes of the Week, and give space to spend time in adoration before the Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.
MONDAY, TUESDAY & WEDNESDAY OF HOLY WEEK
26TH, 27TH & 28TH MARCH
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 31ST MARCH
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 1ST 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.