Broadcaster ‘enriched’ by Lenten Mass challenge

Staff Reporter

Broadcaster Adrian Chiles has spoken of his “enriching experience” attending Mass at a different church every day during Lent.

“It felt like it would be a real struggle, a penance. It turned out to be anything but. It was a rich and enriching experience – spiritually, obviously, but I was also enraptured by the churches themselves, the communities they serve, and the people with whom I shared all those Masses,” the television and radio presenter said.

Mr Chiles, a convert to Catholicism, remarked that “it was striking how similar” the congregations were at the weekday Masses he attended, most of which were in London, Birmingham, Swansea and Manchester.

“There’s no getting away from it, the average age must be somewhere in the 70s. At 48, I spent most of this spring feeling like a spring chicken,” he said.

Mixed bag

The broadcaster also remarked that the priests were a “mixed bag”.  “A third of them I found to be great, with a handful quite life-changingly brilliant. Another third were sort of OK. The rest were pretty hopeless, not least because I often couldn’t actually hear what they were saying. And a handful were grumpy to the point of malevolence,” he added.

Overall, however, the broadcaster said he will “always think back to this Lent” as one of the “most rewarding and quietly intense” times of his life.