People from Peterborough, March and Whittlesey joined Bishop Alan Hopes and the deanery's priests at St Luke's church for East Anglia's first Station Mass this Lent last night (March 6).
A Station Mass is one celebrated by the Bishop in Lent when he travels to different churches in his diocese. It traces its roots back to the practice of the Bishop of Rome celebrating the liturgies of the church year at various churches throughout Rome, a tradition dating back as far as the late second or early third century.
An hour's Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament before Mass included an opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. St Luke's parishioners welcomed guest warmly and everyone enjoyed a buffet supper after Mass.
Bishop Alan said: "Let us take the opportunity this Lent to come home to the Father! Encourage those who no longer worship with us or have lost their way, to come home to the Father! And when you have done so, become a missionary of God's loving mercy in your family, in your place of work or learning, in your local community, in your local Christian community. For Mercy is the beating heart of the Gospel and must be the beating heart of every Christian community and every Christian life."
East Anglia's Station Masses have become a popular feature in Lent and, together with the Chrism Mass at the cathedral on April 11, are opportunities to celebrate the season with Bishop Alan and Catholics from other parishes.
Each Mass will begin with an exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Confession at 6pm, followed by the Station Mass at 7pm and refreshments at 8pm.
Masses will take place at: St Edmunds in Bury St Edmunds on March 9, St Pancras in Ipswich on March 16, Holy Family, Gaywood, King's Lynn on March 20, Our Lady of the Annunciation in Poringland near Norwich on March 23, St Peter's Gorleston on March 27 and Our Lady and the English Martyrs in Cambridge on March 31.