Opening Comment (for Presiders)
We celebrate the first Sunday of Lent. All over the world today, men and women are beginning a period of preparation for their baptism at the Easter Vigil. Like them, we spend Lent preparing to renew our baptismal vows at Easter, looking forward to our blessing with Easter water and to receiving the gift of a new start.
Alternative opening prayer (1998 ICEL Missal)
Lord our God,
in every age you call a people to hear your word and to do your will.
Renew us in these Lenten days:
washed clean of sin,
sealed with the Spirit,
and sustained by your living bread,
may we remain true to our calling and, with the elect, serve you alone.
Grant this through Christ, our liberator from sin,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
holy and mighty God for ever and ever.
Introduction to the Scripture Readings (for Ministers of the Word) Genesis 2:7-9, 3:1-7 — Describes the entry of sin into the world through the story of Adam and Eve. Romans 5:12-19 — Paul brings the First Reading and Gospel together, and tells us that the death of Jesus freed all from sin. Matthew 4:1-11 — The Gospel shows us that even Jesus had to endure temptation.
Introduction (by the Presider) As we begin the lenten journey, let us remember all those in need:
- For Pope Francis, as he celebrates the first anniversary of his election, we pray (pause for silent prayer). Lord, hear us.
- For our Bishop N and all our leaders in faith, we pray (pause for silent prayer). Lord, hear us.
- For reconciliation in our country and throughout the world, we pray (pause for silent prayer). Lord, hear us.
- For peace in troubled lands, especially in Ukraine and Syria (pause for silent prayer). Lord, hear us.
- For the hungry, the poor, the homeless, we pray (pause for silent prayer). Lord, hear us.
- For this community, particularly for our friends who are ill, we pray (pause for silent prayer). Lord, hear us.
The Presider prays for those who have died (especially N. & N. who died recently and N. & N. whose anniversaries occur), that they may dwell in God’s presence (pause for silent prayer). Lord, hear us.
Conclusion (by the Presider) O God, you understand our weakness, you know our needs: give us the joy of your help, we beseech you, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
SUGGESTED SONGS: ‘Praise to the holiest’, ‘Be Not Afraid’, ‘Renew your hearts’