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Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving

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Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving

Each year, Lent affords us the real opportunity to put into action the Gospel we hear on Ash Wednesday. as we seek to turn away from sin and live a life that is faithful to the Gospel, we embrace a journey shaped and coloured by moments of prayer where we draw nearer to God that he might draw nearer to us. Our journey is textured by times of fasting where we not only give up the foods and the treats we might enjoy, but in giving them up we enter into the fast of Jesus and grow in our awareness of the things within – the sin, the habits – that need that sense of fasting from. We give up in order to be reminded of the things we need to give up that draw us away from God. And our journey is marked by our reaching out, imitiating the chairty, the love of Christ who gives his all out of love for us. Our almsgiving seeks to show love for those, maybe, who don’t enjoy or benefit from the abundance that we seem to take for granted. In our prayer, in our fasting, and in our giving, we seek to grow in the image and likeness of God who reveals the depths of his love for us in the death and resurrection of his Son.

 

As a parish community we have ways of living Lent:

PRAYER: Each Thursday of Lent, from 7.30pm in the presbytery, a group meets for Lectio Divina – a prayerful reading of the Scriptures for the coming Sunday. This is a beautiful, simple, and uncomplicated way of praying allowing the God’s Word to speak to us in the stillness and in the silence. We are invited to listen to God;s Word so as to shape our lives by his Word.

Each Thursday morning from 10.15 onwards, the Meditation group meets for an hour of quiet contemplation. Rooted in the ways of John Main, this group meets in the hall after Mass. If it is stillness you seek, then do feel free to come along.

Each Sunday at 4.00pm in the Church, we celebrate the Stations of the Cross, remembering Jesus’ final pilgrimage of love to his cross and to the tomb and making that our own.

 

FASTING: Our regular soup lunches become a feature of Lent allow us to tap into not only fasting but our Lenten almisgivng, too. This year – once again – we join with the other Christian communities in Whitchurch and Hengrove.

14 March: St Bernadette’s (12.30), 19 March: Christchurch (12noon), 25 March: URC, 7 April: Baptist Church, 12 April (Palm Sunday): St Bernadette’s (12.30). All are welcome. The monies rasied through these simple yet nourishing lunches goes to support outreach projects across the church communities.

 

ALMSGIVING: This year, the focus of our Lenten giving is based around CAFOD’s world gifts. Our giving goes to support needy projects in the developing world in very practical and tangible ways. From offering the gift of pencils to children at school or the gift of a queen bee to start a hive at the cost of £4 to the gift of water, garden vegetables or even a community toilet, these gifts reveal something of our care and concern that flows from our desire to be holy as God is holy, to be compassionate as God is compassionate. There’s plenty of info in the narthex of the Church and the beauty of this opportunity is that we focus our giving on those who need in particular ways. CAFOD boxes are in the narthex for you to collect if you so wish.

 

These aren’t the only things that are going on… but they are some of the seeds that are sown in the hope that our Lenten journey 2014 will be one that bears fruit in a desire to come back to the Lord with all our heart.

 

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