Ash Wednesday

St. Vincent de Paul  Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday


What is Ash Wednesday?

Ash Wednesday is the official start of the Lenten season for Catholic Christians and marks the roughly 40 days leading up to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ at Easter.


What is Lent?

Lent is a period of prayer, fasting and almsgiving meant to draw us closer to God in Jesus Christ, taking on some sacrifices in our daily lives to enter into a deeper relationship with Him. During Lent, we seek the Lord in prayer by reading Sacred Scripture; we serve by giving alms; and we practice self-control through fasting. We are called not only to abstain from luxuries during Lent, but to a true inner conversion of heart as we seek to follow Christ’s will more faithfully in our daily living.


Why ashes?

Ashes have traditionally been a sign of seeking atonement or forgiveness for “sin”, for the times people in the community have fallen short of what was expected of them. In Lent, we are marked by a sign of ashes to show our humility and repentance, a deeper desire in our heart for conversion towards the will of God in our lives and as a reminder that we have more room to grow in our relationship with Jesus. The ashes are made from the burnt palms of the previous year’s Palm Sunday, a day of joy commemorating Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem at the end of Lent; a further reminder that times of difficulty help clear the path towards a deeper joy found in Christ.


Mini reflective prayer

As we enter this time of Lent, a time marked by prayer, fasting and almsgiving, we seek to draw closer to you, O Lord. We recognize that all good things ultimately come from you and that you have given us all that we need – whether that is in the lives of those around us, in the communities we are a part of, in the places we call home.

Lord, we know you know the plans that you have in mind for us, plans for us to grow and flourish (Jer. 29:11). May these coming days be ones where we come to encounter you more clearly in the lives of our neighbors. May you guide us in taking stock of the gifts you have given us and help us discern how we can share them with those around us – sharing our time, our talent, and our treasures. May each day be an opportunity to love you once more for we know our hearts are restless until they rest in you. We ask all this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.