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The season of Lent, 2022

Lenten bowls with ash within

At Mildmay Mission Hospital the focus for our chapel and zoom prayer services during this Lent is the plight of the people of Ukraine, and indeed, the people of Russia. We pray that this atrocious war will cease and that the Ukrainians can return to their own country where everything has changed and so much of life, for them, will never be the same.

What does Lent mean?

Lent, in the Christian tradition, is a period of about six weeks before Easter. It is a time in which Christians are supposed to be quiet and thoughtful, preparing themselves for Easter. We are invited to reflect more, to pray, to give to others of our time and, what we can and perhaps to give up some of the things they might otherwise do for pleasure.

What do the 40 days of Lent represent?

Beginning on Ash Wednesday, Lent is a season of reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians replicate Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days. Lent recalls the events leading up to and including Jesus’ death.

How is Lent different from the rest of the year?

Some people do count the Sundays in Lent toward the 40 days. However, those that do not argue that, although Lent is a season of fasting, every Sunday in the Christian year is a feast day. Every Sunday is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

What happens in the first week of Lent?

The scripture reading from this Sunday was taken from Luke’s gospel, relating to us the story about of the temptations of Christ; a timely reminder that we are not in total control and that it is wholesome to recognise this fact and reflect on it during this week

A letter from Pope Francis given 6 March First Sunday of Lent

Dear brothers and sisters,

Rivers of blood and tears are flowing in Ukraine. It is not merely a military operation, but a war, which sows death, destruction and misery. The number of victims is increasing, as are the people fleeing, especially mothers and children. The need for humanitarian assistance in that troubled country is growing dramatically by the hour.

I make a heartfelt appeal for humanitarian corridors to be genuinely secured, and for aid to be guaranteed and access facilitated to the besieged areas, in order to offer vital relief to our brothers and sisters oppressed by bombs and fear.

I thank all those who are taking in refugees. Above all, I implore that the armed attacks cease and that negotiation - and common sense - prevail. And that international law be respected once again!

And I would also like to thank the journalists who put their lives at risk to provide information. Thank you, brothers and sisters, for this service, a service that allows us to be close to the tragedy of that population and enables us to assess the cruelty of a war!

Thank you, brothers and sisters.

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