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Cardinal calls on Catholics to do something extra this Lent

posted on 07 February 2005
The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-OConnor, is calling on Catholics not just to give something up in Lent but to do something extra - as if their salvation depended on it.

Lent, he will tell his Westminster Cathedral congregation on Ash Wednesday, should not seem interminable because it is a time of dramatic focus.

His Lenten message, which he is expected to give at 4pm Vespers on Ash Wednesday, will go out live on BBC Radio Three.

Time narrows over the next 40 days, he says, because we become conscious of the bigger drama of life, a drama that ends with death.

Ash Wednesday, he continues, helps us to focus on that fact.

He urges people to focus not on trying to do without something, but to do something extra.

What people should give up is what stops them doing that extra something.

The idea of Lent, he says, is that we die with Christ like the seed in the ground and rise with Him to more abundant life. We die to sin and rise to integrity. We die to selfishness and rise to generosity, especially towards the poor.

He continues: Whatever penance we do, whatever we choose to give up or do without, should help us to put on these new clothes, and to grow into stronger, healthier Christians. Each one of us should spend more time in prayer during these 40 days; some time in reading a Lenten book about how better to follow Jesus Christ, and some exercise which involves care for others, perhaps a visit to someone less fortunate than we are. What we should give up is whatever stops us doing that extra thing.

You may reprint the Cardinals text in its entirety, but please consult me if it needs to be shortened.

Contact Details:
Austen Ivereigh
Press Secretary to the Cardinal
Telephone: 020 7798 9045 or 07905 224860

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posted on 07 February 2005

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