Dear friends,

Come, ring out our joy to the Lord, / hail the rock who saves us‘: these words, from this Sunday’s responsorial psalm, express the essence of worship, which is premised upon praise and gratitude. I look forward very much to gathering with you this weekend, to worship the God of our salvation.

As I have spoken about previously, I am very keen to encourage those who, for a legitimate reason, are unable to attend Mass on any given Sunday morning instead to consider coming to the Vigil Mass the preceding Saturday evening at 6pm (which itself fulfils the Sunday obligation): this shorter service (45 minutes) includes the same readings, prayers and homily as on Sunday morning, with two hymns. If it is impossible to come to Mass at St Mary’s one weekend (either to the Saturday Vigil or the Sunday Parish Mass), the next best thing would be to attend at least one weekday Mass the week following: these are scheduled at a variety of times, at least one of which should be possible for everyone. Particularly as Lent approaches, with its call to spiritual renewal, let us covenant with the Lord never to be absent from the altar for any longer than is necessary, for from the altar come grace and blessings in abundance.

Please note that next week on Tuesday evening there will be no public Evening Prayer, Rosary or Mass; however, next week also includes two special and beautiful liturgies – for Candlemas (the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord) next week on Friday, 2 February, when the 9.30am Mass will be followed by a breakfast of sparkling wine and pastries; and for the Memorial of St Blaise on Saturday, 3 February: St Blaise is the patron saint of sore throats, and the traditional Blessing of Throats – to ask God’s protection against illness – will take place at the end of Saturday’s 9.30am Mass. All are welcome on both occasions.

We are likewise invited to a Candlemas celebration with Bishop Jonathan, at St Matthew, Kensington Olympia, on Friday next week at 7.30pm (see the attached poster), including the traditional Candlemas ceremonies, and featuring the combined choirs of St Matthew’s, St Luke Chelsea and All Saints Fulham – a musical feast!

Fr Hector at All Saints invites any of our musicians who would like to do so to join him on Saturday, 3 February for a Music and Liturgy Workshop at All Saints, with the renowned CJM Music (who accompany Masses at the Walsingham Youth Pilgrimage, inter alia): this workshop is designed to develop skills, understanding and confidence in accompanying worship: the day begins at 11am, and concludes with the 6.30pm Vigil Mass at All Saints – and participants should bring a packed lunch. Please let me know ASAP if you wish to attend, so that I can pass your name to Fr Hector.

Also attached is the latest newsletter from Forward in Faith (London), and a poster for the forthcoming Pre-Lent Quiet Day on Saturday, 10 February, 12-3.30pm at St Pancras Old Church. Please let me know if you would like to attend, for catering purposes and so that we can travel together as desired. A soup lunch will be provided (or bring sandwiches); there is no charge, but donations are invited on the day.

Let us come before [the Lord], giving thanks, / with songs let us hail the Lord‘,

Fr Richard