News for Sunday 20th March: Third Sunday of Lent

News from St Mary the Virgin, Kenton on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th March 2022: The Third Sunday of Lent

We know that during the Season of Lent, there is one word of acclamation that we are 'forbidden' to use: we save it up for forty days to use at the Easter Vigil and all services in the Easter Season especially (and then, throughout the year) to express our joy at the news of The Resurrection. However, this week, we could be forgiven for using that word at the return of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe after almost six years of captivity in Iran. I am sure that she has been in many of our prayers over that time, and we have certainly received several updates in the ACAT Newsletters. We thank God that her ordeal is over; but she will continue to need our prayers as she tries to resume some sense of normality after this life changing event.

For hundreds and thousands of others, another life changing event will still be very raw. The legacy of the Covid pandemic has left so many people with a void in their lives that is difficult to heal. It is estimated that around 164,000 people lost their lives to Covid, and for each death many more family members and friends will be grieving. The restrictions during the pandemic often meant that funerals were far from ideal with few mourners in attendance and the opportunities for family members and friends to gather together to support the bereaved were greatly reduced. This week, on Wednesday 23rd March, we are encouraged to join with others across the United Kingdom in The National Day of Reflection. This is an opportunity to take time to remember all those who died during the pandemic, whether their death was or was not Covid-related. It acknowledges their lives and provides some degree of collective grief that was difficult to express during the pandemic itself. At 12.00 noon on Wednesday, there will be a one minute of silence which everyone will be encouraged to keep. The Church of England has some helpful suggestions of how we can join in with this event which has been organised by Marie-Curie Nurses. One suggestion is to telephone or send a card to someone you know who has been bereaved – just to let them know that you are thinking about them and praying for them at this time. There are also some helpful prayers, of which this is one:
Loving God,
As we journey towards Easter, help us to live as people of hope, knowing that beyond the pain of the cross lies the joy of resurrection. Inspire us in our worship, through our churches and in our homes, that we may bring glory to you and joy to others. Be with those who are struggling in mind, body or spirit, and give courage to those who are facing uncertainty and change ahead. Help each of us to keep our eyes fixed on you, that we may reflect your light to all whom we meet.

We offer our condolences, love and prayers especially at this time to Jackie DeRoy and family. The funeral of Larry DeRoy takes place at St. Mary's Church at 11.00am on Friday 25th March. May he Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory.

The First Mass of Sunday is on Saturday 19th March at 6.00pm. The Parish Mass for The Third Sunday of Lent is at 10.30am on Sunday 20th March.

“It is he who forgives all your guilt,
who heals every one of your ills,
who redeems your life from the grave,
who crowns you with love and compassion.” (Psalm 102)

David Griffiths