The Rector Writes – coursework; Lent and Spring into Easter!

For the past six weeks I have been undertaking a part-me course in Clinical Pastoral Educaon (C.P.E.) This course, which has a twelve week duration, aims to improve the pastoral skills of participants in hospital, Nursing Home and parochial settings. It is seen as part of Continuing Professional Development (C.P.D.) an acronym which has become a ‘buzz’ term in today’s business world. My place on this course has been supported by both the United Dioceses and the Archbishop and I am very grateful for the opportunity to undertake this discipline. Thankfully my course placement allows me to undertake the majority of my parochial work and I appreciate the support and patience of parishioners as I complete this endeavour.

As we move into the month of March, there is often argument about when the season of spring actually begins. According to our calendar, spring is meant to start on 1st February – St. Brigid’s day. For the ancient Celts, the festival of Imbolg celebrated on 2nd February was deemed to be the date. However, meteorologists work on the premise that spring does not commence until 1st March. Yet, in some parts of the Northern Hemisphere, especially in the United States, the beginning of spring is not celebrated until the vernal equinox on 20th March – let us hope we do not have to wait that long! But setting the spring argument aside there is universal agreement that the vernal equinox is used to determine the date of the Jewish festival of Passover and by extension, the Chrisan festival of Easter.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday 1st March and it is no accident that in the Northern Hemisphere the Christian season of Lent – a time of preparation for Easter, coincides with the climatic season of spring. Both are meant to point towards a definite sense of promise. Lent affords us the opportunity to reevaluate ourselves and to make amends for things which need changing in our lives. But all this is done in the positive light of promise – in the promise of the risen Christ which we will be celebrating at Easter. Meanwhile all around us, despite all the vagaries of the weather, nature is beginning to sprout forth once more with early flowers and shrub blossoms leading the way. Perhaps we would do well when faced with the often depressing state of our world to learn from nature’s book and move forward in faith even if things do not yet show any signs of promise.

I am aware that tradition dictates that people normally try to give up something for Lent – and that is indeed commendable. However, perhaps another alternative worth considering may be to take up something for Lent! Our parish can only function smoothly when we have a team of willing volunteers and so, for example, assistance with Sunday readings, coffee rotas,  grounds maintenance work pares and many other parochial acvies would benefit from people offering their individual giDs and talents. If you are willing and able or have any ideas in this direction I would be more than delighted to hear from you.

With every blessing,

John.

Tel: 01-289 3154 / 086 302 1376

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