In the 1990s, I especially remember the first Sundays of Lent. That was the day we headed to the Cathedral at Westminster in London, just up the street from Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament with Big Ben and its chimes, (those very chimes,
albeit a bit higher in tone, ring out every day from St. Katharine Drexel Parish here at St. Mary’s).
What was so special about those Sundays of Lent was the large number of people who would attend the Rite of Election. The Archdiocese of Westminster was divided into five areas and each area had its Catechumens and Candidates led in by the various Auxiliary Bishops through a different door of the Cathedral.
What amazed me was the diversity of culture and traditions, the many people finding a home in the Catholic Church, with different stories, histories, and influences. I remember that one of those years the Catechumens and Candidates for
Reception into the Church at Easter numbered 500. It was a spectacular sight—the music, dancing and drumming in the church was astounding. This reflected a truly Catholic Church from every tribe, people and nation with different colors in clothing and skin.
As the late Cardinal Basil Hume sent us on our way, we could hear the chimes of Big Ben and the crowds making their way back to the parishes to continue the Lenten journey.
Those were great memories, but I cannot help being reminded even amid our current trials in 2021, there are still numerous people embracing the call to conversion and the call to Baptism though out the world.
God’s promise of the covenant in our first reading reminds us of the rainbow and the flood. Our God does not abandon us in our trials. The First
Epistle of Peter echoes this truth and speaks of the transforming power of baptism and our relationship with God in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the way to the Father and by his Spirit all are called. This very Spirit of God led Jesus into the desert for forty days to prepare him for the preaching of the kingdom.
The Spirit remains with us and our parish prayer is a good starting point to put faith into action during this Lenten period:
Loving God and Father,
You sent your Spirit to help us on our way. Give us the grace as people of Holy Cross and St. Katharine Drexel parishes, to discover the life of Jesus, and to live and share this joy with others so that your will may be done on earth, as it is in heaven.