Bishop's Lenten Message 2016

Every year, the message of Lent is the same: and it is simple. It is expressed in the prayer we hear when we are marked with dust on Ash Wednesday: Repent and believe in the Gospel.

What makes each Lent different is our response. This special time can drift by, or it can be an opportunity for real conversion of heart. Turning away from the trap of selfishness, turning towards Jesus who gives fullness of life, lasting into eternity, starting here and now.

This year, Lent will be coloured and lit by the Year of Mercy. As I did in my Pastoral Letter God the Father of Mercies, I pass on two practical invitations from Pope Francis.

First, make this Lent a time to rediscover (or perhaps discover) the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Don’t wait till Holy Week, but find a time early in Lent to reflect on where you need forgiveness and healing and bring it to Confession. The priest will welcome you and help you. The prayer of Absolution is beautiful for the truly penitent to hear.

Second, consider the traditional Works of Mercy and ask God to show how you are doing, or could do these works. We have produced small cards that list the works and offer scripture passages for reflection and action.

Let’s pray for one another as we journey to Easter.

+ Michael McKenna
Bishop of Bathurst