Wednesday, February 22, 2012


"You are dust and to dust you shall return."
February 22nd was Ash Wednesday. Receiving ashes on the first day of Lent is a practice that dates back to the 5th century and by the 11th century was a universal Christian practice. In ancient times, many people used ashes for religious, magical and medical purposes. In the Old Testament, ashes were sprinkled on the head or over the whole body as a sign of mourning and penance. During the Reformation, most Protestant Churches eliminated the use of ashes. In recent years, however, many of these Churches have resumed the practice. Pope Urban II (c.1035-1099) is credited with recommending that Catholics receive ashes on Ash Wednesday.

As Catholics, the imposition of blessed ashes on our forehead on Ash Wednesday signifies the purification of our minds and hearts, which is the fruit of our Lenten observance of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. I pretty much was at church the whole day starting with 8:00 a.m. Mass, went back in the afternoon to help get the Lenten Supper ready to be served at 2:45 p.m. This was our first year providing Fasting Supper that included 4 kinds of homemade soups (Disclaimer: I had nothing to do with making the soups. I just helped serving the food), grilled cheese sandwich, salad and drink (lemonade and water). We requested donation only. Ash Wednesday (and Good Friday) are days of fasting and abstinence from meat. My husband stopped by after work and we had supper. I selected the clam chowder and CP had his favorite brocolli cheese. I continued to help until 6:45 p.m., just in time to join my husband for 7:00 p.m. Mass.

1 comment:

Nonna Beach said...

My Hubs Mom is Catholic and we came in to see her from visiting other family on our vacation and I forgot it was Ash Wednesday...thought she had a bruise in the middle of her forehead. She too was at church most of the day and when we went out to eat she had broiled fish. I also appreciate the significance in depth of that day that you described...very interesting !


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