Reflecting the Penitential Nature of Lent

Carmel Bulletin, 22 February 2015

lent_enviro_08 005Hopefully things look and feel a bit different at Mass this weekend than they did last weekend.

The large banners have come down and the plants and flowers are all gone.  There may be less music, and instruments should only be used to accompany singing, as opposed to being used for solo pieces:

During Lent the altar is not to be decorated with flowers, and the use of musical instruments is allowed only to support the singing… (Ceremonial of Bishops, no. 252)

All this is done for a greater reason than giving our florist, Sofie a break from arranging flowers for us every week (although with all her great work, she does deserve a rest).  The “stripping back” of the space and even elements of the liturgy helps to focus us on the penitential nature of the season.

It is similar to what we are encouraged to do in our own lives.  Lent is a time when we may fast, particularly on Ash Wednesday and on Fridays, or we may choose to abstain from particular things.  Such abstinence may not be specifically from food, but may also be from other material goods or indulgences that we otherwise take for granted.

By taking the opportunity during Lent to do away with those preoccupations, we offer ourselves more time and space to focus on our relationship with God.

Through its twofold theme of repentance and baptism, the season of Lent disposes both the catechumens and the faithful to celebrate the paschal mystery… The faithful, listening more intently to the word of God and devoting themselves to prayer, are prepared [for Easter] through a spirit of repentance to renew their baptismal promises.  (Ceremonial of Bishops, no. 249)

19/2/12 – Lent and the Apostle’s Creed

AshesThis Wednesday the Church enters once again into the season of Lent.  During the season of Lent, the catechumens (those preparing to belong to the Church) enter into the final period of purification and enlightenment.  The journey of these elect during Lent is marked by more intense spiritual preparation, interior reflection and penance.

For those of us already baptised, our observance of Lent is an opportunity to journey in solidarity with the elect.  We commit ourselves again to our baptismal calling.  Our works of prayer, fasting and almsgiving allow us to focus intently once again on our relationship with God; the same relationship upon which the elect are focused at this time.  As such, both baptism and penance characterise the Lenten season.

The new English translation of the Missal, which we began to use last year, now allows for either the Nicene or Apostle’s Creeds to be prayed for the Profession of Faith during Mass.  The Apostle’s Creed is recommended in the Missal for the seasons of Lent and Easter, due to its connection with baptism.  As such, we will pray the Apostle’s Creed at Mass during the seasons of Lent and Easter.

10/4/11 – Holy Week

Holy Week begins next Sunday.  As Easter is fast approaching, here are a few reminders about our upcoming celebrations:

For the first time this year, Bishop Anthony will celebrate the Second Form of the Sacrament of Penance in each deanery.  The Holroyd deanery celebration is this Thursday 14 April at 7:30 pm at St. Patrick’s Church, Calliope Street, Guildford.  All are invited to attend.

Palm Sunday will be celebrated at the usual Mass times.  9:00 am Mass will commence with a procession from outside the parish hall.  Please join in the procession or solemn entrance at the Mass you attend and enter fully into the spirit of Holy Week.

The parish Penitential Service will be celebrated on Tuesday 19 April at 7:30 pm.  Like last year, readers for the Easter Triduum will have a preparation workshop afterwards.

The Diocesan Chrism Mass is on at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Wednesday 20 April at 7:30 pm.  All are invited to attend.  Fr Paul and parishioners will receive from Bishop Anthony the oils that we will use over the next twelve months in our sacramental celebrations.

The Easter Triduum begins with the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7:30 pm. The Parish Centre is reserved on this evening as the altar of repose for the Blessed Sacrament.  Please remember that entry that evening is via the church doors – if you cannot manage the stairs, please see our welcomers about using the ramp and parish centre entrance.  Please bring your Project Compassion box with you also and place it in the basket near the church entrance.

Stations of the Cross will be prayed on Good Friday at 9:00 am., and the Sacrament of Penance will follow from 9:30 – 10:30 am.  The church will remain open during the day for those who wish to come and pray.  The main celebration of this day is the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion at 3:00 pm.

Like Holy Thursday and Good Friday, there is no morning Mass on Holy Saturday.  If you have flowers to contribute to our adornment of the Marian Shrine or other saints, please bring these down to the parish centre from 9:00 am. – 10:00 am.  The main celebration of this day and the entire Easter Triduum is The Easter Vigil at 7:30 pm.  Mass will begin outside with the Service of Light, before we proceed behind the Paschal Candle into the church.

Finally, Easter Sunday Masses will be celebrated at 7:00 am., 9:00 am. and 10:30 am. only.

14/3/10 – Exploring the Sacrament of Penance

Today at Mass, we hear the parable of the Prodigal Son, or perhaps (depending on the perspective from which you approach this scripture passage) the Forgiving Father.

This parable, along with other readings we hear during this season in Year C, make connections with the Lenten theme of Penance and Reconciliation.

For many of us, different images and thoughts surface as we consider penance and reconciliation, particularly when we think of its sacramental celebration.  These impressions we have of penance and reconciliation are shaped by our experiences, which can be quite varied.

Both this Thursday and next, I invite you to come and learn more about how we as a Church celebrate forgiveness and reconciliation.  We will explore the history of the sacrament, the forms by which we celebrate the contemporary Rite of Penance, as well as other issues surrounding the celebration of the sacrament today.

This will be a time for reflection, exploration and discussion, and a time to consider further the penitential character of this season of Lent.

Exploring the Sacrament of Penance
Thursday 18 and 25 March
7:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Paul Knüppel Parish Centre