Lent and ultimately the lead up to the Easter festival is possibly my favourite time of the year.
I grew up Catholic, attending an all-boys school in Liverpool which was run by the De La Mennais Brothers (Brothers of Christian Instruction). Attending mass and embracing catholic values was a huge part of school.
I had an extremely close relationship with my Nanna growing up too and she was more like a mum to me. Her church and faith were a huge part of her life, and she attended church every day to light a candle and pray and attended mass three or four times a week. At weekends and school holidays I always went with her.
On her deathbed, my whole family and her priest, came to the hospital and recited the rosary. The poignancy of this moment will stay with me for the rest of my life.
For anyone wondering what the rosary is, it’s a series of Hail Marys, Our Father and Glory Be prayers – some people use rosary beads to guide them through the process – rosary beads tend to be used by women in my family.
My Nanna’s faith lives on in me in every day.
My faith is quite private, but I wanted to share this with you because at this time of year, it’s important for people to understand the true meaning of Easter for Catholics and other people of faith, as it is with any religious festival.
So, every Lent, I give something up and I reflect. The reason Lent is 40 days long is because that was the amount of time Jesus was exiled for, before he was crucified and ultimately rose again, before his ascension to heaven. I love lent because it allows me to use the Bible as a metaphor for a fresh start. I even go out and buy new stationary, get all my jobs done around the house and start the new financial year feeling fresh and prepared!
When Easter weekend arrives it’s a really nice time for me and my family. Catholics do not eat meat on Good Friday, so fish it is and lamb on Easter Sunday! Lent gives everyone the opportunity for a fresh start, so it’s a happy and poignant time for me.
By Dean Slavin, Head of Customer Voice and Insight