Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ash Wednesday season of prayer

Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent, the season of prayer, penance, and reflection before the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday 40 days later.

TAGLE This year, Ash Wednesday falls on March 5, 2014. It is a day of fasting and abstinence. Church officials urge the faithful to take the Sacrament of Penance for spiritual renewal in preparation for Easter Sunday on April 20, 2014, the central feast of Christendom.

Catholics observe Ash Wednesday by hearing Mass and having their foreheads imposed with a cross using ashes mixed with either oil of the cathechumens or holy water by priests in violet vestments or lay persons, as a sign of conversion, penance and a reminder of mortality. The ashes used are gathered from burnt palaspas (palm fronds) from the previous year’s Palm Sunday rites.
Ash Wednesday is observed in many countries including in the United States of America, United Kingdom, and Ireland. As in the Philippines, it is a holy occasion, when people traditionally come to church to receive the cross of ashes on their foreheads. Prior to Vatican II in 1965, which made sweeping changes in Church liturgy, the ash imposition was done within the Mass. Because of huge number of devotees queuing up for the ritual, the imposition of ashes is now allowed in designed lines even outside the Church.
During the imposition of ashes, priests or religious and lay ministers say, “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel” or “Remember, you are dust, and to dust you will return (Genesis 3:19). The imposition of ash on foreheads dates back to 10th century when ash was a symbol of purification and penitence.
We offer our prayers to the Archbishop of Manila Luis Antonio Cardinal G. Tagle, and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, headed by Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas, President; Davao Archbishop Romulo G. Valles, Vice President; Palo Archbishop John F. Du, Treasurer; and Fr. Marvin S. Mejia, Secretary General; and the Filipino Catholic faithful in their solemn observance of Ash Wednesday. MAY GOD BLESS US ALL!

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