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Keeping a Holy Lent

Dear Cathedral Family,

Mardi Gras is now a memory and some beads in the trees downtown. Ash Wednesday was a welcomed day, as we set out together on the observance of a Holy Lent, committing ourselves to “self-examination and repentance,” to “prayer, fasting, and self-denial,” and to “reading and meditating on God’s Holy Word.” As someone said to me on Fat Tuesday, “I never really appreciated Lent until I began to experience Mardi Gras in Mobile.” How true.

Now, on the First Sunday in Lent, the perspective of our worship shifts. We will return to the Rite One order of worship for Holy Communion on Sundays, not because it is especially penitential, but because it enables us to look back at who we have been in order to look forward to who we are called to become.

For this first Sunday of Lent, our worship will begin with The Great Litany, which has been part of every Book of Common Prayer since its initial publication in 1544 as the first liturgical service in the English language. It is a great linking in prayer of the whole communion of the saints—the living and the dead—in light of the world to come. It invokes our belief in the power of the Trinity; it petitions Christ to spare us, despite our weaknesses and failures, from all evils; it offers intercessions for our many and varied concerns; finally, it asks for repentance and forgiveness for ourselves and others and for the ultimate triumph over evil that will lead to the fulness of God’s heavenly kingdom.

Our youth confirmands explore The Great Litany together as part of their self-examination and preparation, and I encourage all of you to spend time with it as part of your Lenten disciplines. You will find it on page 148 of your Prayer Book. In this email and on our website you will find many other resources and opportunities for keeping a Holy Lent. I hope that regular Sunday worship will be a part of that for everyone.




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