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Lent Begins with Mass on Ash Wednesday

February 22, 2023

For centuries, Catholic Christians have marked the beginning of the season of Lent by receiving ash on their foreheads on Ash Wednesday. This tradition has its roots in the Old Testament, where wearing ashes was a common sign of repentance for sins and a sign of one’s humility before God. Since Lent is a season of penitential renewal through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, it’s appropriate that this ancient sign marks the beginning of the season. The ashes themselves are usually made by burning the palm fronds from the previous year’s Palm Sunday. This symbolically connects the beginning of Lent with its end, connecting our change of heart with Christ’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection. Ashes are usually distributed as part of the Mass on Ash Wednesday, often after the homily. As people approach the priest or other minister, he presses the ashes to their foreheads, and speaks one of two phrases: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return,” or “Repent and believe in the Gospel.”

Mass was celebrated by Father Kyle from St. William Catholic Parish, and assisted by Deacon Mark Fair from St. Vincent de Paul. The Savio Choir and TIM Team assisted with the Mass today.