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Rector’s Letter March 2017

Lent begins rather neatly on 1st March this year, the first time I can remember this happening. It means that, even in Wales, the Church will be celebrating Dewi Sant a day earlier than usual on 28th February. Ash Wednesday, as an observance of the universal Church takes precedence even over the celebration of a patron saint. However I don’t think Wales’ patron would object to his day giving way to Ash Wednesday. Fasting and discipline were practices close to his heart and this was, after all, a man who spent long hours praying waist high in cold water!

Now I’m not going to suggest that we should adopt St. David’s way of praying as part of our Lenten discipline – though you are welcome to try it if you want to! But the tradition surrounding Wales’ patron saint can certainly inspire us as we enter into this special season. I’m thinking especially of his frequently quoted exhortation to his followers to ‘do the little things well’.

Perhaps instead of trying to take on all manner of extra disciplines this Lent, we might try instead to try to do the little things in our own lives much better. How about re-thinking our times of private prayer, giving them a ‘freshen-up’ and greater attention? Perhaps we could put more effort in trying to cope with a difficult family member or being a more patient driver. There are lots of aspects of our daily lives which could do with some attention – think what in your own life might be worth considering. Then on Ash Wednesday offer these to God asking for his grace – and see what happens.

One of the ‘little things’ most of us do regularly is to share in the celebration of the Eucharist and to receive the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ. You might not think of this as a little thing as it is certainly one of the most important and profound things in our Christian lives. I describe it as a ‘little thing’ because for most of us it’s a routine part of life; something we do week by week or perhaps even more often than this. On Mothering Sunday this month we will implement the new Church in Wales policy to welcome all who are baptized to receive Communion. As we prepare to welcome them to Communion it seems sensible to take time to reflect upon what sharing in the Eucharist means to us.

So on the parish level, our focus this Lent will be on the Eucharist. There will be a short series of three sermons on this subject on the first three Sundays of Lent, and at St David’s Hospice after the Wednesday evening services of Compline there will be an opportunity to share in a ‘Pilgrim’ Course exploring the meaning of the Eucharist. As usual this will be a joint activity with our friends across the diocesan border in what is now the Aberconwy Mission Area. I hope that a goodly number of us will take part in these activities and so deepen our own Eucharistic life.

On the subject of the new Church in Wales policy on admission to Communion – I want to thank everyone who has taken part in the consultations on how we put this new policy into practice in our parish. I am especially grateful to the Sunday School leaders, to the Revd. Mike Harrison and to Jennifer Roberts, who have been helping to prepare our children for this change. Following this letter you will find set out exactly how the policy will be implemented.

Have a joyful and fruitful Lent!

Fr. John

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