Pastoral Letter for Lent 2011

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I have spent the last few days in Washington attending the meeting of The International Commission for English in the Liturgy on behalf of the Scottish Bishops. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to travel and to meet up with bishops from other countries, while doing some work for the Church's benefit. In speaking to the other bishops I become more aware that I come from a privileged Diocese, particularly as  we have a good number of priests serving in this Diocese in relation to the number of Catholics, and as a a result of that we continue to have extensive provision of both Sunday and weekday Masses.

In highlighting this I again wish to call upon the Catholics of the Diocese to love and value the Mass and to attend and fully participate in it as often as possible. Lent is a time when we are asked to turn again to the Lord and be converted by his grace - each Mass we attend offers us this opportunity, as we listen to his Word, pray for our every need, unite ourselves with the renewal of the Lord's Sacrifice, and are offered the possibility of receiving his Body and Blood in Holy Communion. I would encourage all of you to come to Mass as frequently as you can this Lent, not just on Sundays but on weekdays as well. If you have grown careless in attending Sunday Mass, now is the time for change and to turn again to the Lord and seek his mercy and goodness in your life.

Once at Mass it would be good to pray that we may continue to enjoy the privilege of having such frequent celebrations of the Mass in our parishes, and especially that we will have the priests to provide this blessing of the Lord's real presence upon us, our families and our communities. Let us pray especially therefore for those studying for the priesthood for the Diocese, and for those considering that vocation. During his Visit to the UK last year Pope Benedict, reflecting on the imminent publication of the new English translation of the Roman Missal encouraged us "to seize the opportunity that the new translation offers for in-depth catechesis on the Eucharist and renewed devotion in its manner of celebration". I again commend this task to the priests and the people of the Diocese as we look forward to using the new Missal later this year in our worship.

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