LENT BEGINS On Ash Wednesday 9th March this year and for those who are going to be received into the full communion of the Catholic Church before Easter, through the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, it will be a particularly significant one. Many of you reading this letter will be leaving the Church of England in order to prepare through the Lenten season, with you pastor, for reception during Holy Week. It is a time of uncertainty and perhaps even anxiety as you leave behind a church building and perhaps a community with which you familiar and comfortable to move forward into something quite new and unfamiliar. This really is about moving forward in faith, not seeing the future as clearly as we would like but simply learning to trust in the Lord. Our clergy in particular need your support and encouragement as they make this step of faith. We need to take to heart the words of the Epistle to the Hebrews:
‘Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith’
The season of Lent is not a conscious recalling of our Lord’s 40 days in the wilderness but a period of preparation of candidates for baptism. Although those of you being enrolled for catechesis and preparing to be received into full communion are not catechumens, Lent is nevertheless an ideal time to prepare for such a momentous event in your spiritual lives. One particular aspect of your preparation is the fact that you will be unable to receive Holy Communion from Ash Wednesday until Holy Week. I know some of you will find it difficult to sit quietly in your seat as others go the altar to receive the sacrament. This is something that Fr Burnham, Father Broadhurst and I did during the Advent season last year and we can vouch that it was an important part of our spiritual preparation for 1st January when we were received. It engendered a longing for the sacrament and a desire for the moment we would be in ecclesial as well as Eucharistic communion with the Catholic Church. We need to regain the practice, which many have lost, of making a spiritual communion in our heart when we are unable to receive the sacrament for a particular reason. Remember the obligation is to be present at Mass not to receive Holy Communion on every occasion.
WALSINGHAM’S 950th ANNIVERSARY
This year Walsingham celebrates the 950th Anniversary of the vision of the Lady Richeldis and the founding of the Shrine in 1061. The Archbishop of Westminster will preside at Mass in Westminster Cathedral to mark the beginning of six months of celebrations ending on the Feast of our Lady of Walsingham on Saturday 24th September. Members of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham are warmly invited to take part in these festivities and particularly to be in Westminster for the opening Mass on Saturday 26th March at 2.00 pm. The image from the Slipper Chapel will be carried into the Cathedral at the beginning of Mass followed by our three ‘Walsingham Sisters’ and the Guardians of the Anglican Shrine. This will be an excellent example of Anglicans and Catholics honouring Our Lady together and I hope that those of you who can make it will be there.
With my prayers as you begin this important Lenten journey,
Father Keith Newton
From the Portal Magazine.