Lent: a Time for Renewing Faith, Hope and Love
“In our Lenten journey towards Easter, let us remember the One who “humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:8). During this season of conversion, let us renew our faith, draw from the “living water” of hope, and receive with open hearts the love of God, who makes us brothers and sisters in Christ. At the Easter vigil, we will renew our baptismal promises and experience rebirth as new men and women by the working of the Holy Spirit. This Lenten journey, like the entire pilgrimage of the Christian life, is even now illumined by the light of the resurrection, which inspires the thoughts, attitudes and decisions of the followers of Christ.”
An extract from The Message of His Holiness Pope Francis for Lent 2021
(available at Vatican.va)
Are you interested in doing something special this Lent, more than just giving up chocolate?
Is Lent this year a good opportunity to carve out some time to nurture your relationship with Jesus? Perhaps enjoy time with others online in a Lenten retreat or simply having some “time out” alone with God?
If you’re looking for inspiration then look no further – we have plenty of ideas for you here, from short daily video reflections straight to your Inbox to a choice of Lenten Retreats. What will you choose?
- Fancy a short inspiring video reflection via email every day? Join Dynamic Catholic for their “Best Lent Ever”– you can sign up here: Dynamic Catholic
- To mark the Year of the Word, Sr Hyacinthe from The Dominican Priory in Sway is inviting you to join the Formation for Mission Team on their Lenten Retreat: ‘Finding Hope in Scripture’, starting on Monday 22nd February. Every Monday evening during Lent at 7.30pm and for 6 weeks, the Retreat focuses on aspects of the virtue of hope from six different Bible passages with the reflections followed by a time of live-streamed Adoration and Compline with the Dominican Sisters of St Joseph. Register here to participate.
- St Joseph’s parish in Christchurch invite you to their Prayer and Praise evening happening every Tuesday at 8pm – 8.40pm via Zoom – you’ll find all the details here. A chance for parishioners and friends to gather informally as a community for hymns, scripture, prayer and reflection. Those who wish to get a chance to stay on and chat afterwards too!
- The Centre for Applied Carmelite Spirituality at Boars Hill, Oxfordshire are also offering the chance to participate in a Retreat with them entitled “Be Drawn To Christ”. Live-streamed sessions of prayer and reflection will take place every Wednesday at 5pm plus you’ll be emailed a Bible Reflection each Sunday along with prayers. There is also the opportunity to go deeper with either individually guided sessions or small group guided sessions – a chance to review the week and reflect on your life with the assistance of an experienced spiritual guide, paying closer attention to how and where God has been at work in your life. For further details and to register, look here.
Please note: a small (optional) offering towards the running of this Retreat is suggested and there is a fee for taking part in the guided sessions – please follow the link above for more details.
- For a chance to spend time in prayer and reflection why not join parishioners from Our Lady & St Edmund in Abingdon for their “Hope and Healing” evenings? Every Thursday between 7pm – 8.15pm there will be a variety of reflections, scripture, Sycamore films and the opportunity for prayer; everyone is welcome. Hope and Healing is hosted by the parish RCIA team and anyone interested in joining in can contact Pauline on email@example.com or call 07506 753085 to register for the Zoom link.
- More locally, Ringwood Churches Together are running a course encouraging us to find some inner peace this Lent – it’s called “God’s plan for your Wellbeing” and everyone is warmly welcome to join in. The course runs on Thursday evenings at 7.30pm starting on Thursday 18th March and topics include your physical, emotional, spiritual, relational, financial and vocational wellbeing, with practical suggestions and advice form the NHS. Each session involves watching a film and then a group discussion via Zoom; there is a book to accompany the course too so even if you can’t access Zoom you can work through the book alone if you wish. If you are interested in joining in or would like more details, please contact Melissa at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Once again, Fr Tom Grufferty would love you to join him for a mini-Retreat organised by the Lay Community of St Benedict. Taking place via Zoom on Ash Wednesday, all Saturdays during Lent and into Holy Week, Fr Tom is one of several speakers taking a closer look at some key events in Jesus’ life – details on how to book a place can be found here.
- Also available is a Retreat being run by The Society Of Jesus (The Jesuits) on the theme of “Knowing Jesus”. Using Scripture, pictures and music and taking place every day during Lent you can choose to follow the reflections online and reflect alone (there is guidance provided as to how you might do this) or join a small group, mainly via Zoom, “to share the fruits of the prayer and to help answer any questions you may have.” Further details here.
- The traditional Lent devotion of Stations of the Cross is available in many different forms on-line. You can find a few examples here, but many more are available by searching the web for “Stations of the Cross”.
- And not forgetting, during this current lockdown Bishop Philip invites you to join him online (or in person if you live locally to St John’s Cathedral in Portsmouth) for an hour of Prayer and Praise called “Verso L’Alto: Reach for the Heights”. From 7.30pm – 8.30pm each Thursday the intention is to pray for a speedy end to the crisis, for the sick, for those who have died and for the safety of all. You can join Bishop Philip online via the Cathedral’s live-stream
However you choose to spend your Lent this year we pray you will have a spirit-filled time
in preparation for Our Lord’s death and Resurrection this Easter.