Please would you return to church or the parish centre last
year’s palm cross in order that they may be burned to make
the ash used on Ash Wednesday.
Service of Preparation for Lent
This ideal preparation for our keeping of the season of Lent
takes place on the Sunday Next before Lent, 23 February at
5.30pm. It is always appreciated by those who come and we
wish to encourage a greater proportion of our worshipping
community to sample the spiritual treasures on offer. Please
Download the Sunday Next before Lent poster.
The Season of Lent begins on Wednesday 26 February. There
are two eucharistic services on this day: Mass with
Imposition of Ashes at 9.30am in the Parish Centre, and The
Parish Mass with Imposition of Ashes at 7.30pm in church.
Ash Wednesday is a ‘Red Letter’ or Holy Day of Obligation
when all committed Christians are asked to participate in
the worship of the Church and consider their response to the
themes of the season.
Ash Wednesday is named from the tradition of marking the
faithful with a cross of ashes as a sign of mourning for
their sins and of repentance. The ash is prepared by burning
the palms left over from the previous year and mixing them
with a little holy oil or water. This marking was originally
made on the tonsure of monks or on the forehead of the
faithful, but modern practice allows marking the palms of
the hands instead. The people kneel before the priest, who
marks them with the words, ‘Remember that you are dust, and
to dust you shall return. Turn away from sin and be faithful
The service of the imposition of ashes is known as ‘ashing'
and has its basis in the Old Testament practice, common in
the ancient Middle East, of putting ashes on one's head and
wearing sackcloth to signify repentance. ‘O my poor people,
put on sackcloth, and roll in ashes; make mourning as for an
only child, most bitter lamentation’ (Jeremiah 6:26). The
use of ashes was abolished as part of the Protestant reforms
of 1548 but reinstated by later monarchs. The service is now
widely observed in the Church of England. Ash Wednesday is
observed by almost all Christian denominations as a solemn
day of repentance to mark the beginning of an important
season, whether ashing is practised or not. Let us begin
Lent as we mean to go on – together, faithfully.
Download the Ash Wednesday poster.
Resolutions for Lent
Faithfully and sincerely living the Christian life means a
continual effort to live up to the ideals Christ has set us.
Because we so regularly fall short we are constantly picking
ourselves up and making a new effort, a new beginning.
Lent is a terrific opportunity to make such a fresh start.
This in effect means making resolutions. They should be few,
practical and reasonable. A little self-knowledge should be
brought to bear. It is quite pointless making great promises
if you know yourself well enough to know that you will not
keep them up.
Stations of the Cross
- Fridays in Lent
As in previous years, we will be joining with our Christian
brothers and sisters from St Gregory’s Roman Catholic Church
for these devotions on the fourteen 'Stations of the Cross’.
They are ‘snapshots’ taken during the final hours of
Christ’s earthly life, and these evenings are an immensely
valuable spiritual devotion on the final hours of Christ’s
earthly life. Stations take place on Friday evenings at
7.30pm, as follows:
Friday 28 February St Gregory's
Friday 6 March St Matthew's
Friday 13 March St Gregory's
Friday 20 March St Matthew's
Friday 27 March St Gregory's
Friday 3 April St Matthew’s
The Stations of the Cross are an invaluable enrichment to
our spiritual observance of Lent, as well as a wonderful
teaching resource which exposes us to the central beliefs of
Download the Stations of the Cross poster as a handy
reminder of the dates and please do come if you possibly
This Year's Lent Course is entitled ‘Deepening Faith’. It is
based on the Gospel according to Mark. Every three minutes a
Christian dies for their faith. It has been said that,
‘There is a rare beauty that emerges in the lives of
Christians who suffer, and it is in the place of deprivation
that the Church most flourishes.’ The course will examine
how true this was in the latter part of the first century of
Christianity; how the Gospel of Mark was written against the
background of persecution; and how that experience deepened
the faith of those early Christians. A simple reading of the
Gospel of Mark, and Lenten meditation upon it, could be a
good way for us, too, to deepen our faith.
The course will consist of five stand alone sessions, and
take place in church on the following evenings, beginning at
Thursday 5 March Faith in Jesus, the Christ
Wednesday 11 March The testing of faith
Wednesday 18 March Growth in faith
Thursday 26 March The cost of discipleship
Thursday 2 April The reward of faith
All we ask, by way of preparation, is for participants to
read the Gospel according to Mark in its entirety (at
sixteen chapters it is the shortest of the four accounts)
and do so in one or perhaps two sittings.
Download the Lent Course poster as a handy reminder of
the dates and please do come if you possibly can.
Mothering Sunday – 22
Mothering Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Lent, is also known
as ‘Mid Lent’ or ‘Refreshment’ Sunday. It is a day on which,
traditionally, the faithful take a break from the rigours of
Lent, and relax their Lenten discipline. It is also the day
on which we focus on the vocation of motherhood and give
thanks to God for the gift of children. We do so with
sensitivity towards those who, through the varied
circumstances of life, have not been able to share in the
blessings and tribulations of parenthood. At 10.15am, our
All Age Mass will hold these themes together and the rich
tapestry of emotion they represent. Please do come.
Download the Mothering Sunday poster.
Annunciation of the
‘Lady Day’ is celebrated on Wednesday 25 March, exactly nine
months or one gestation period before Christmas Day. It is a
Principle Feast of the Church, and marks the beginning for
the 'Christ event’, the fulfilment of centuries of
expectation and longing as recorded in the Old Testament.
The Parish Mass begins at 7.30pm and will be sung by
Northampton Chamber Choir. All who count themselves
committed will know where they need to be!
Download the Annunciation of the Lord poster.