In both the Old and New Testaments, ashes are associated
with mourning and repentance. As Catholics, we begin the
Lenten season with Ash Wednesday. Following the proclamation of the Gospel and a homily is given, the priest blesses the ashes with Holy Water and offers a prayer.
The congregation comes forward like at communion time
and receives ashes upon their foreheads. Like a splash of
cold water on the face that awakens a person in the morning, ashes on the forehead are to awaken the recipient to the
beginning of a new season in the Church’s liturgical year.
The ashes are made from the palms that were used in the
previous year’s Palm Sunday celebration. We are called to
examine our lives and prepare for a new Easter.
When ashes are administered, two formulas can be used:
“Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel,” or
“Remember you are dust and to dust you will return.” This
is to remind us that with the fact that now is the time to act,
now is the time to “get things right” with God.
This year Ash Wednesday will be on March 6. Get your
foreheads ready and begin to examine your life. This day is
a day of fasting. We should curb our meals to one regular
meal and two smaller meals. There should be no eating between meals, and we should not eat meat on this day or on Fridays. This practice reminds us of the sacrifice Jesus made for us. It also helps us remain…yes in control of our desires. Fasting helps us with our free will and builds upon
our inner strength. This Lent all of you will be within my
prayers as you journey in faith. May this Lenten Season be
one that draws you closer to God and His Heavenly Kingdom.
This year Mass times for Ash Wednesday are 8:00 a.m. and
7:00 p.m. I look forward to seeing you there.