Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Ashes, barbs - and emails

Although Easter is about as late as it can be this year, and therefore so also is Lent, nevertheless Ash Wednesday seems to have arrived very quickly. There were a lot of people at 9.30 Mass at St Paul's, after which Fr T and I went up to our parish primary school, Christ the King, for a liturgy with the juniors. As always with Christ the King, it was imaginative and thoughtful, centring on the three images of ashes, water and seeds. Then I also celebrated evening Mass at St Brigid's - not so full, but still a respectable number of folks.
For the season of Lent I've changed the header picture for this blog. I've used a close-up of barbed wire at Auschwitz, where I went on our September Pilgrimage six months ago. Auschwitz had an enormous effect on me, greater even than I expected in fact, and the wire there seems to stand for everything that traps us, from within and without, everything from which Jesus came to set us free. The wire at the camps was beautifully crafted, but hard and inpenetrable. It also, of course, bears a distinct resemblance to many images of the Crown of Thorns. Just something to contemplate this Lent... (acknowledgments to Paul for photos).
I have decided to give a series of so-called Twilight Retreats this Lent on Wednesday evenings for people involved in different ministries. These will replace the series of talks on various themes that I have given over previous Advents and Lents. It will be pretty demanding each week, but I am convinced that many people would enjoy and benefit from a little time apart, with some spiritual nourishment and challenge. We'll see how they go.
The use of email is great for a large organization like the Church, but it does, of course, have its drawbacks. One of them came back and bit me today when I discovered that a series of emails that I had sent over several months to a colleague, and which I had sort of concluded he was chosing to ignore, had, in fact, never reached him because he had changed his email address. So I had to repent of some evil-ish thoughts - and resend them!

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