Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As we gather across the diocese to celebrate the First Sunday of Lent, some of us have the very fresh memory of coming to church last Wednesday and being marked with ashes on our forehead. As we left the church and continued about our daily business, this very visible sign was saying something to those we met – about ourselves – about the community of faith of which we are a part and – about the journey we, together, are setting out on.
The journey of Lent to Easter is about our renewal, refreshment and healing through God’s love and mercy. This is our annual retreat, our annual turning back to God; it is a powerful reminder to us that change can happen, fresh starts can be made, our friendship with God and, in turn, our family and the world, can be deepened and enriched.
This Lent, as your Bishop, I am inviting you personally to make the journey to Easter with me in a very particular way. Each of us, no doubt, will have our own unique journey to make as we turn our lives back to God. Alongside this, I am inviting you to a shared journey as a diocese this Lent. I am asking each of you to join me in reflecting on our Sunday Mass – digging deeper and renewing our belief in this central act of our Christian life. As Catholics, we believe that the Mass is the source and the summit of our lives. To say it is the source, is to say that what we celebrate in the Mass flows into our lives, nourishing it and shaping how we live; to say it is the summit, is to say that it is the highpoint of our Christian life together, a highpoint that we are invited to return to again and again.
So, what better time to turn our attention to what is central to our lives as Christians than in this time of Lent. By doing this I hope that when we renew our own baptism at Easter and welcome new Christians, and when we receive our Easter Holy Communion, that we will do so with a renewed sense of what the celebration of the Mass is about.
To help us do this, at my request, the Diocesan Commission for Liturgical Formation has prepared
a set of resources that I am asking parishes to draw on and use. ‘Sunday Mass – Digging Deeper’ is a
suite of resources that includes homily notes, hand-outs, video material as well as, for those who would
like to dig even deeper, four Sessions exploring the Mass called ‘Signposts on the Road to Emmaus’.
I am personally committing to take this time to renew my own sense of the Mass and its
celebration. I’m inviting you, in the weeks ahead, to join me and parishioners from across the diocese in
this particular Lenten journey. As we dig deeper into our Sunday Mass let us pray that our reflection
will be a source of nourishment and renewal for us all and for our celebration of the Mass in our
parishes in the years ahead! I pray God’s abundant blessing on each of you in this season of renewal.
⧾ Bishop Denis