We have just got over a bout of very bad and cold weather and now we are on our way to spring and Easter. At the moment we are in the third week of Lent and are journeying towards the great festival of Easter. By its very nature, Lent is a time of few feast days. A couple of National Patron Saints manage to muscle their way in St David (Wales) March 1st and St Patrick (Ireland) March 17th. Of course, the great feast of St Joseph, the husband of Our Lady, is given to us on the 19th March.
The Solemnity of the Annunciation this year falls on Palm Sunday, and so it is transferred to April 9th (Monday) – The day our seventh Bishop of Lancaster, Canon Paul Swarbrick, is consecrated and installed as our new bishop. But before then we have Holy Week opening with Palm Sunday, and then onto the Sacred Triduum: Holy Thursday (Mass of Last Supper at St Bede’s at 7pm), Good Friday (Celebration of the Last Supper at 3pm at both St Bede’s and St Edmund’s), and Holy Saturday (Early vigil at 8.30pm at St Edmund’s and the all-night vigil at St Bede’s starting at 11pm ish).
Easter (Easter Sunday Masses are 9.30am at St Edmund’s & 11 am at St Bede’s) is the greatest feast in the Church’s Year and therefore, it is celebrated over eight days (Easter Octave). It is brought to a conclusion, on Divine Mercy Sunday, also known as Low Sunday.
In this Holy Season there are a plethora of saint’s days: April 16th – St Bernadette; April 23rd – St George (Patron of England); April 25th – St Mark; May 1st – St Joseph the worker; May 3rd – The Apostles James and Philip; May 5th – The English Martyrs; May 14th – St Matthias; The Ascension of the Lord is returned to Thursday 10th May ( 40 days after the Resurrection).
Then in the period leading up to Pentecost, we have our own patron saint, and most English of all saints – St Bede on the 25th May. This is quickly followed by St Philip Neri, and then on to Whitsun – 27th May. The month of May is rounded off nicely by the feast of our Lady’s Visitation on the 31st May.