Ash Wednesday in St Helen’s

Cross of AshesThis Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, a day of fasting and abstinence, and the beginning of the great and central double Season of Lent / Easter. As well as morning Mass with the distribution of Ashes (at the new time of 10am), we will also have a Service of the Word with the distribution of Ashes in the evening, at 7.00pm, to make it possible for us all to set out on this lenten journey of redirecting our lives back to God and preparing to enter again into the New Life of Christ through the Easter Pass-over.

Here is a Pastoral Letter Lent for 5th Sunday of the Year from Archbishop George Stack (Copies of the Archbishop’s letter for Lent are available in the porch in the church).

The 1st Deanery Lent Station Mass will be here in Saint Helen’s this Thursday, 14th February: the Bishop mentions the Station Masses as part of our Lenten discipline, an invitation to set out on the Journey to Easter with our Bishop and our neighbouring Parishes. We are hosts for the first: Let us give our guests a good welcome.

Did you know..?

  • Ash Wednesday falls 46 days before Easter.
  • Ashes are a symbol of penance made sacramental by the blessing of the Church, and they help us develop a spirit of humility and sacrifice
  • The ashes are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year. The ashes are christened with Holy Water and are scented by exposure to incense
  • Ash Wednesday can fall as early as February 4 or as late as March 10
  • This practice is common in much of Christendom, being celebrated by Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists, , and some Baptist denominations
  • In the Catholic Church, ashes, being sacramentals, may be given to anyone who wishes to receive them, as opposed to Catholic sacraments, which are generally reserved for church members, except in cases of grave necessity
  • In the Catholic Church, Ash Wednesday is observed by fasting, abstinence from meat, and repentance—a day of contemplating one’s transgressions
  • As the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday comes the day after Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), the last day of the Carnival season.

(Source:  Catholic Online)

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