Religious Education and Social Justice

Ash Wednesday and the Season of Lent


Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, a day on which Catholics traditionally resist eating between meals (fasting) and avoid eating meat (abstaining). 


Catholics also attend Mass and receive the ashes on their forehead as a reminder of the dust from which God made us. Ashes also symbolize grief, in this case, grief that we have sinned and caused division from God. 


Priests administer ashes during the Ash Wednesday Mass and all are invited to accept the ashes as a visible symbol of penance. The ashes are made from blessed palm branches, taken from the previous year's Palm Sunday Mass.


Lent is a forty day period of preparation for Easter, excluding Sundays. It reminds us of the forty days that Jesus spent in the wilderness before he took up his ministry. 


During this time, he fasted and prayed. Lent is a time of self-denial and prayer for us as well. During this period, we are called to focus on becoming closer to Jesus by praying a little more, doing good deeds for others, going without something we like and giving generously to others in need. 


Ash Wednesday is a good time for us to think about what we can do to grow closer to Jesus over the Lenten period. Unfortunately this year we have been unable to attend Mass and receive the ashes due to the Stage 4 restrictions in place for COVID19. I invite you to take a few moments to read God's Word below.


In the reading from Joel (2: 12-13) we are called to grow closer to Jesus through prayer, service to others and self-denial. 


The Lord says: Come back to me with all your heart, fasting, weeping, mourning. But do not let your hearts be broken, turn to the Lord again for he is tender and compassionate, slow to anger and ready to forgive.


The Word of the Lord  

Thanks be to God.



Reflection:  Now take a moment to think about how you can turn to God with all your heart this Lent.  Write down what you promise to do this Lent to grow closer to Jesus.


God bless you all during this Lenten season.

Jane Wilkinson

Religious Education Leader