Dear friends,

It was very encouraging to welcome so many of you to Mass yesterday for the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday – and I commend the Lenten disciplines on which you have now embarked to God’s grace and guidance. The Collect Prayer for this coming Sunday puts well the point and purpose of this holy season, asking God to grant ‘through the yearly observances of holy Lent, that we may grow in understanding of the riches hidden in Christ and by worthy conduct pursue their effects’: although Lent may appear to be a time for reining in, yet there are undoubtedly riches to be unearthed in these coming weeks, whose power in our lives is made most manifest when we cooperate humbly with God’s will.

Please note that on Wednesdays during Lent the 9.30am Mass will begin with Stations of the Cross, to which all are welcome. Similarly, if you are looking for a Lent course to attend, please see the attached flier from the parishes of Willesden and Kingsbury, advertising four evenings of worship, fellowship and study.

The keeping of Lent is rightly described as a pilgrimage, a journey in faith in company with one another and the Lord. Later this year, I am delighted to announce that we will be joining our brothers and sisters from St Andrew, Kingsbury and St Andrew, Willesden Green for a joint parish pilgrimage to that holy place so beloved of Kenton Christians, the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. This will take place between Tuesday 6 – Friday 9 June, and the total cost per person of just £270 will include full-board, and coach travel. The cost has been significantly subsidised on account of grants secured from the Templar Pilgrimage Trust, the Society of Mary and the Shrine’s own Swaby Fund – and I really hope a healthy number of us will want to join this trip to England’s Nazareth. Some parishioners will be regular visitors to Walsingham – but others may be hearing about this for the first time: since 1061, pilgrims from all over England (and the world!) have been making their way to this small, picturesque village in north Norfolk, to pray at the Shrine of Our Lady, who appeared in a vision in 1061. Over the centuries, healing and wholeness have been experienced by pilgrims to the Shrine – and today it remains for thousands annually a place of peace, prayer, contemplation and fun! Places on this pilgrimage are strictly limited, and numbers need to be confirmed to the Shrine by 26 March: there is a sign-up sheet in church, and a non-refundable deposit of £30 is required at this stage.

Also attached is a poster for an upcoming concert by the Stanmore Choral Society, at St Lawrence, Whitchurch on Saturday, 1 April.

With my best wishes for a Lent rich in blessings,

Fr Richard