Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
We begin today the great season of Lent in which the Church is, each year, called to penance and conversion in a mystical journey that take her through the passion and death of the Lord, to the Promised Land of the resurrection.
Ash Wednesday also marks the formal start of a journey for those of you who seek to be received into the full communion of the Catholic Church through the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Your pilgrimage through the desert of Lent will, this year, be especially poignant.
In the First Reading at Mass today we hear this sentiment rehearsed once more: “Come back to me with all your heart [...] turn to the Lord your God again, for he is all tenderness and compassion”.
That call to continuing conversion - the recognition of our sin and a true spirit of contrition and repentance - is a universal call to sanctity which, in a special way, you bravely take up this Lent.
Take courage that the reward of faithful commitment to Christ is a deepening of our personal relationship with him, in and through his Catholic Church.
As you study the faith and prepare spiritually for your reception during Holy Week, allow your heart to be fully converted toward Christ, and fully open to him, so that his love and his grace finds there fertile ground to take root, and to flourish. Only then can we completely allow his heart to speak to our hearts, and know truly the depth of his love.
May God bless you as you set out on this journey, and may Our Lady, Star of the Sea, be your guide to the safe harbour which awaits you.
The Right Reverend Monsignor Keith Newton
Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham