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Lent this year, like last’s, will be quite different. The church will remain closed and Mass restricted to online celebrations. However, we can still make our personal journey through these six weeks and know that we are doing it with others.

Prayer, fasting and almsgiving remain the bedrock of this holy season.For prayer, I invite you to join the online retreat offered by the Glasgow Jesuits. This is a wonderful, structured, day-by- day prayer resource. You can do it individually or by joining a group.

If you choose to do it individually, please let me know at frmagill@rcdom.org.uk and perhaps we can come together online later in Lent. Go to the homepage and click Retreat for Lent — www.onlineprayer.net,

More Lenten resources can be accessed at

https://www.loyolapress.com/catholic-resources/liturgical- year/lent/perspectives-on-lent/

This site can be accessed on the homepage.

Try to bring together your fasting and almsgiving – give to charity what you save through your fasting. SCIAF can be donated to online through the link on the homepage. Also please consider making your parish giving online. Click the link on the homepage — parish collection online – and follow the instructions.

At home, mark Ash Wednesday in a special way.

  • Make a little altar with crucifix, candle and bible
  • Join our Mass online
  • Make some ashes, ideally by burning last year’s palm orwith any other suitable material. Mark your forehead with the ashes, saying “Remember you are dust and unto dust you shall return.” Give the ashes to everyone in the house.
  • Remember it is a day of fasting and abstinence. No flesh meat and only one main meal.
  • In some way, remind your family and friends that it is Ash Wednesday.Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving serve to open our minds and hearts to the great Solemnity of the Resurrection at Easter. They mark further progress on our spiritual journey.Let us pray for all our parishioners during these holy days that the Lord bless and keep us and bind us together in a communion of love.