Sunday 26 February 2023

First Sunday of Lent

Synod 2023: Communion, Participation, Mission.


On Ash Wednesday Pope Francis encouraged us to ‘cast off the ‘dictatorship’ of heavy schedules, crowded agendas and superficial needs.’ Lent marks a period that can include fasting, prayer, and works of charity in preparation for Easter. Pope Francis said that Lent is the time ‘to drop the pretence of being self-sufficient and the need to put ourselves at the centre of things, to be the top of the class, to think that by our own abilities we can succeed in life and transform the world around us’. He went on to say: ‘The Ashes we receive this evening tell us that every presumption of self-sufficiency is false, and that self-idolatry is destructive, imprisoning us in isolation and loneliness.’ He said that ‘Alms-giving is not a hasty gesture performed to ease our conscience. Rather, it is a way of touching the sufferings of the poor with our own hands and heart.’ 


Sunday Readings 

Lent is about getting back to basics and there is plenty of food for thought in today’s readings. In Genesis we are reminded that God wishes ‘life for us.’ ‘God breathed into man’s nostrils a breath of LIFE.’ The woman said to the serpent that God wanted her to be happy. She could eat from all the trees in the garden except one. The serpent – the father of lies – puts a doubt in the woman’s mind. He implies that God does not want her happiness. He does not want her to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and to become God. The man and woman in the Garden of Eden forgot that it is God who is the author of knowledge. Humankind participates in this goodness and wisdom. Humankind is not their source. The Gospel reminds of the Temptation of Jesus in the desert. The first temptation is in the area of food, drink, sex, addictions. When these become central the true value of our lives is diminished. The second temptation is in the area of misplaced pride and honour. It has to do with ‘ego inflation’, self-honouring, self-distortion. The third temptation is ‘power’, dictatorship, abuse, tyranny.  


Sunday Masses Holy Spirit Vigil 5pm (Saturday), St Matthias’ 10am, St Teresa’s 12noon.  


Weekday Masses St Matthias’ Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 10am. St Teresa’s Friday, Saturday 10am.  


Stations of the Cross after Friday 10am Mass followed by Adorations at St Teresa’s. 


Lenten Boxes are available at the three Churches. 


Confessions  Before Saturday Vigil Mass and on request. 


To book a wedding or baptism, please contact the parish office (better to email).                                    

Months Mind Leo Connolly. 


Anniversaries  Teresa Major, Evelyn Rice, Tilley Mc Grogan, Joe Grant, Danny McIlroy, Hazel Mc Ilroy, Dorothy Brennan, Joseph McDonald, Graham Warring, Philip Mc Murray. Ian Currie, Raymond & Sarah Gregory 


Candle Burning Teresa Major, Ken Sheriff (birthday memory) 


Weekly Offertory  £1, 330. Thank you. 


Mary’s Meals – Syria Earthquake Appeal -We invite you to join us in prayer for those affected by the two devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, and for the success of emergency response efforts. Mary’s Meals has provided school meals in Syria since 2017 with our local partner Dorcas, and we have now launched an emergency appeal to provide urgent support for children and vulnerable adults in and around Aleppo who are in desperate need. To find out more or donate, please visit, or call us for free on 0800 6981212.  


PRO-LIFE RALLY - Be a voice for unborn babies at the Rally for Life in Belfast on Saturday 11th March 2023 gathering in Custom House Square at 2pm   A special Mass for Life will be offered in St Patrick’s Church, Donegall Street at 12.30pm. Buses to the Rally leaving from various locations. For further information please contact Precious Life on 07592280522 / 02890278484 / email 


Nurses, Will you lend us a hand? The Down & Connor Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes is seeking volunteer registered nurses for our pilgrimage from 12th to 17th July 2023.  Working with other volunteer doctors and nurses in a specially designed care setting, you will be part of a very special and faith filled community. 

For more information, please email your contact details to 


Accord NI Catholic Marriage Care Service is recruiting Marriage Education Facilitators to provide Sacramental Marriage Preparation for couples in the diocese. We are seeking individuals who are good communicators and have an enthusiasm for supporting couples as they prepare for the Sacrament of Marriage and future family life. This is an opportunity to formally train within a supportive, nurturing and inspiring community. In 2022, our teams helped 2,140 couples to develop good communication skills, manage conflict and understand the responsibility and significance of the Sacrament of Marriage. For further details and an application form, please contact Brenda at 028 9023 3002 or email 


Accord - Marriage Preparation Courses at St Mary’s Chapel Lane, Belfast. Next available courses, 11&12 and 25 & 26 April 2023. Book at  


Bethany Group  Contact number 0799 0381248 


St Vincent De Paul Helpline No.  0741 9326678 


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