Members of the Catholic Police Guild have chosen to give up a wide variety of things for Lent this Year,cakes and chocolate being a popular choice! Others are abstaining from meat or alcohol,as it is generally something which the individual really enjoys and is given up for 6 weeks from Ash Wednesday up until the end of Holy Week. It is not absolutely necessary to give something up, some Catholics instead do something positive to strengthen their faith like reading particular texts or books maybe about a favourite Saint or devote themselves to spending some quite reflective time regularly in Church. Personally I have been raising money for CAFOD – Catholic Agency For Overseas Development. A fantastic charity that helps some of the worlds poorest Communities. The goal of every Catholic is to leave Lent a stronger and more vital person of faith than when they entered it.Easter is the most important feast for all Catholics as its the very beginning of the Church. On Maunday Thursday Jesus sat with the twelve Apostles to eat the Passover meal known as The Last Supper. This was the very first sacrifice of the Mass that we relive at every Mass we celebrate. On good Friday Jesus’ church had dwindled to just three members as he was dying on the cross after the others ran into hiding just as Jesus had predicted.Then on Easter morning he had risen from the dead and from this we move to Pentecost where the twelve people who were privileged to be in Jesus’ intimate company and who knew him best went out and spread Christianity throughout the whole world! The direct successor of one them is still doing the same today- Pope Francis!I’ll try to get to the Triduum services if I can depending on work commitments. The Easter Vigil service is a favourite of mine. It takes place after dark on Holy Saturday. The idea behind the service is for faithful Christians to wait and watch,hopeful and confident that Christ will return. The service begins outside gathering around a fire. The church is in darkness.A large Candle known as the Paschal Candle is lit from the fire and is a symbol of Christ risen as the light of the world and coming into the midst of the people. The candle is then carried into the darkness of the church symbolizing the darkness of Christs Tomb where people are waiting each with their own smaller candles. After prayers and readings all the candles are lit from the flame of the Paschal candle,each person sharing the light by lighting each others candles until the whole church is bright by candle light.Quite a specticle.
Easter day itself will be a family celebration as it is every year. All the family gathering together for great meal that is equal to if not better than Christmas dinner!
Sergeant Luke Benning has recently joined our team of Ambassadors, he is also a member of the Catholic Police Guild, and sits on their National Executive Committee. As our newest Ambassador, we asked him to share what he is doing over the Easter period.