News & Photos
Highlights of parish life in Houghton Regis
The holy season of Lent started on Ash Wednesday (22 February). On Ash Wednesday we welcomed the pupils and staff of Thomas’ Whitehead Academy to church for a special service where blessed Ashes were distributed. The other photos below were taken at the Parish Mass on Sunday 26 February, the First Sunday of Lent.
About the Season
Lent invites us to deeper repentance; to make meaningful changes in the way we live so that we may learn to follow the Lord Jesus more closely. To facilitate this Lenten repentance, we are invited to follow three core practices: Fasting, Giving, and Prayer. These should be hallmarks of the Christian life, but we are especially encouraged to engage with them now as we prepare to celebrate Easter.
The last two weeks of Lent (sometimes called Passiontide) assume darker tones as we approach Good Friday. During Passiontide sacred images are veiled so as to hide some of the glory and splendour of the church building and of the liturgy, and to focus our attention on the sorrowful Passion and Death of Our Lord.
The liturgical colours of Lent are purple, “Roman purple”, and violet to signify penitence. On the Fourth Sunday of Lent (Lætare Sunday) the liturgical colour is a cheerier rose.
Photos: Thomas Whitehead Academy and Mr David Steele
Photo Copyright: Thomas Whitehead Academy and All Saints' PCC Houghton Regis
Today marks the first anniversary of the war in Ukraine.
Ukraine war in numbers: 8.1 million refugees fled Ukraine - 5.4 million people were driven from their homes (internally displaced) - 17.6 million people in Ukraine needing humanitarian aid - 8,006 confirmed civilian deaths - Around 9,000 Ukrainian troops killed - Around 200,000 Russian troops killed - Over 65,000 suspected war crimes reported.
Figures from The Independent (24 Feb 2023)
Can you help? Even small acts of love and compassion can alleviate the sufferings of others. Visit our website to find out about our collection of good and funds for Ukraine. We need: Blankets, Winter Clothes, Tents, Sleeping Bags, Waterproof Gear, Long Life Food, First Aid Essentials, Medicines and Medical Supplies. Funds raised so far have been transferred to the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (Luton). Cash donations should be clearly marked "Ukraine".
Sunday 19 February, the 7th in Ordinary Time, marked the last Sunday before Lent. After the Parish Mass and refreshments, a few of us gathered outside the Parish Church to burn last year's Palm Crosses to make ash for Ash Wednesday.
In previous years the crosses were burnt on Shrove Tuesday without much ceremony by the Parish Priest and the Sacristan. However, this year we opted for a public rite, a shared moment of prayer, with parishioners, to highlight the link between the palm crosses and Ash Wednesday, between the Passion of the Lord Jesus and our Lenten journey that is approaching.
The ceremony we followed is a very simple rite adapted from material produced by the Scottish Episcopal Church (available online).
Father Richard Brown, Parish Priest of Holy Cross Marsh Farm, joined us for Mass.
Photo Copyright: All Saints' PCC Houghton Regis