St. Mary-the-Virgin, News for Sunday 23rd February: The Lord is compassion and love.

Oh, where to begin? Perhaps the “hot” news this week is that Father Matthew Cashmore is going to be leaving us in the summer. We knew (when he arrived) that his time in Kenton was to be short-lived, but it has turned out to be a little shorter than expected. He will be taking up the post as Priest in Charge of St Anselm, Hayes in July. What is a sadness for us is, of course, a great joy for the congregation at St Anselm’s and we wish him every success. He did however remind us at Mass this morning that he is STILL HERE – and will be for the next four months, so let’s enjoy his company and that of Catherine and Edmund while we can! Fortunately, he’s not going too far away – so hopefully we will see him from time to time.

This Sunday, the Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time is the last before Lent begins! Can you believe it? It only seems like a few weeks ago that we were taking down the decorations from Christmas. Psalm 102 gives us a timely reminder of the nature of God:
“My soul, give thanks to the Lord
and never forget all his blessings.
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.”
Tuesday of this week is Shrove Tuesday and, like many other Christian festivals, seems to have been overtaken by consumer commercialisation. The supermarket shelves are stacked with pancake mixture and plastic lemon juice squeezers. In reality, Shrove Tuesday is all about confession, penance and reconciliation. To keep a good Lent, one should be seeking forgiveness and spending 40 days in penitence in preparation for Christ’s sacrificial death on Good Friday and his Easter Resurrection. Somehow, that doesn’t quite hit the mark with advertisers – but it should for us as Christians. We can turn again to Psalm 102:
“The Lord is compassion and love,
slow to anger and rich in mercy.
he does not treat us according to our sins
nor repay us according to our faults.”

There are two Masses on Ash Wednesday – at 9.30am and 7.00pm – both with the imposition of ashes; and other services and devotions can be found on the Lent Services pamphlet. Please note in particular the service at 11.30am on Thursdays at “The Chapel of St Margaret” and book your place with Fr Edward to share in worship with our beloved friend Margaret Shand. 
David Griffiths