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Ahead of Ash Wednesday, Cardinal Vincent has issued an invitation to the faithful to resume a regular pattern of worship by attending Sunday Mass in person once more.

In a letter to headteachers in the Diocese of Westminster, he asks for their assistance ‘to encourage everyone to make coming to Church an important part of their pattern of life’ by sharing a video message addressed to Catholic school pupils.

In the video message, he stresses that ‘churches are open’ and he points to ‘the coming season of Lent, beginning on Ash Wednesday, as the ideal time to become part of the journey through the life of our Catholic family, in the company and grace of our Blessed Lord and strengthened by each other’.

He asks the pupils to share the message with their families and to ‘ask if it would be possible for you to go together to church, to Mass this Lent, in preparation for Easter’.

A pastoral letter from the Cardinal will also be read out in churches in Westminster this coming Sunday extending the same invitation to all the faithful. 

In the letter, he asks those who have resumed the regular pattern of Sunday Mass attendance ‘to be ready to approach those whom you know, and who are not present here today, with a word of invitation for them to join us’. 

Acknowledging that ‘taking the step across the threshold of the church can be daunting for someone who has been away for a long time,’ he suggests that parishioners offer ‘to accompany them on this return journey’.

As Lent, ‘the traditional and powerful season of our renewal in faith,’ approaches, we are invited to ‘respond to the Lord’s invitation to come forward and meet him afresh’.