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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Tuesday, February 28, 2012
7th Sunday 19th February 2012
Don’t Give Up

You’re probably thinking that this is a rather strange title for an editorial on the last Sunday before Lent as we as we demolish the last box of chocolates in the house or drain the last drop of Bristol Cream from the decanter in dread of Ash Wednesday and the 40 days of fasting which it begins. However, I mean it – well, almost.

Self-sacrifice is an integral part of the fasting to which we are called during the forthcoming season. But we are called to do three things – fast, pray and give alms. Baroness Warsi delivered a fantastic speech at the Vatican on the creep of secularisation in our society. I would suggest that if we merely give up something then we encourage that because Lent merely seems to be a negative experience.

On the subject of praying more, it always strikes me that the Masses on Monday and Friday evenings are the least well attended. I know our older parishioners don’t want to come out in the dark and the cold, but perhaps those of us who get home from work or school in time to be here for 6.30pm might put off our evening meal for just half an hour. In addition, on Fridays during Lent, we will be praying the Stations of the Cross after the evening Mass when we contemplate Christ’s journey of love to Calvary.

For those who can’t make any of these formal services why not pray more on your own? Set aside time each day at home or work or pop into the church as you pass. You could pray the Stations or the rosary and to help you with the latter I have put out leaflets explaining how to say it and offer it for vocations to the priesthood. Day by Day gives daily scripture readings and Bible Alive gives a short reflection for each day. Also available are a range of booklets on various subjects to help deepen our understanding of the faith – even committing ourselves to reading a Catholic newspaper every week is something good to do.

As to almsgiving, it is always difficult to know how much we should offer but I generally try to give what I’ve saved by giving something up. That’s the principle behind CAFOD Lenten fast day which we observe a week on Friday. In addition, it is traditional to adopt a couple of other charities and dedicate a wall-safe to Lenten alms. Given the long association with this parish, the wonderful Aid to the Church in Need will be one beneficiary. The other is closer to home – the Holy Family Sisters of the Needy. They are better known to you as Sister Chinedum and Sister Joseph whose work involves trying to dissuade single mothers from having an abortion and then giving them a place to live during pregnancy and after the birth of their child.

So as we count down to giving up, lets also show the world that this is truly a joyful season which brings spiritual and practical benefits to many.

Fr Kevin

posted by Sinead Reekie at 10:00 am