Our diocese has again produced a range of Lenten resources including reources for Ash Wednesday, the Sundays of Lent, Stations of the Cross and reconciliation services.

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Resources

Click on link to download the full 56 page resource – Lenten Liturgy Resources 2009

The following resources are available for individual download

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Lenten Season

The Lenten season is a time for reflection and taking stock as we prepare for Easter.

It is also a time when each one of us is invited to recall and renew our baptismal commitment, for at the heart of Lent is the waters of baptism. This emphasis on baptism may at first seem strange and new to those of us who traditionally associate Lent with penance and giing things up but a quick look at the origins of Lent explains why it is so.

Three strands

Lent, as we know it, began in the 4th century and is made up of three strands. The first strand is the ancient paschal fast which originally began as an intense two day preparation for Easter and over timebecame forty days long. The second strand concerned those who were preparing for baptism, known as the catechumens. The third strand involved the Order of Penitents which offered those who had been baptised and then turned away from God an oportunity to do penance and renew their relationship with God.

Thus the forty days of Lent was the final stage of the journey for the catechumens preparing for baptism; they were accompanied on this journey by the penitents and the rest of the community who prayed, fasted and prepared to renew their baptismal promises at the Easter Vigil. However, over time the link between Lent and baptism became less obvious and it is only since the Second Vatican Council that the connetion has been firmly re?established.

Our challenge this Lent is to see this season as an opportunity to renew the commitment to new life in Christ first made in bapism, affirmed in confirmation and continually strengthened in Eucharist. What we turn away from or give up this Lent may be those things which prevent us from living in the light that only Christ canbring. The call in Lent is to conversion, to a change of heart that enables us to live as a child of the light.

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. On this day we begin our Lenten journey to Easter. It is one of two fast days in the church year.

On Ash Wednesday the priest blesses the ashes. These ashes are made from the palms which were blessed on Palm Sunday last year. Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation but many people attend church on this day to be marked with the sign of the cros. Ashes are an ancient symbol of repentance; penitents wore sackcloth and ashes’ to show that they were in need of forgiveness and that term is still in common usage today. Ashes also remind us that our life on earth will come to an end and that our eternal life with God will then begin. This is what we believe happens in baptism and so the beginning of our Lenten journey is inextricably linked to our baptismal ourney.

The sign of the cross is made as the ashes are put on our foreheads.

The priest or the minister says turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel,’ or similar words. The signing with ashes reminds us of our dying to the old way of life in baptism and challenges us to live our lives in the liht of faith.