News & Photos
Highlights of parish life in Houghton Regis
Yesterday, on the Last Sunday before Lent (the Sixth in Ordinary Time) we ended the Parish Mass with the burning of last year’s Palm Crosses to make the ash used on Ash Wednesday to mark the beginning of Lent.
This simple rite is adapted from liturgical material produced by the Scottish Episcopal Church and available online. The reading from Isaiah 58 invites us to reflect on the spiritual meaning of fasting and repentance as we approach the holy season of Lent.
On Tuesday 28 March we celebrated Mass with Thomas Whitehead Academy for the first time. Our regular Tuesday worship was replaced by a School Mass for Key Stage Two pupils and the school staff. This was a joyous occasion filled with prayer and singing. Each class composed a prayer to be offered during the Intercessions and the children rehearsed the sung parts of the Mass with our talented Music Teacher before attending the service.
Photo Copyright: Thomas Whitehead Academy
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
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