Ash Wednesday is a significant day for Catholics as it marks the beginning of the Lenten season. It is a day of prayer and repentance. Catholics over the age of 14 are required to abstain from meat and those aged 18-60 are required to fast.
On Ash Wednesday, we receive ashes in the shape of a cross on our forehead with the words “Repent and believe in the Gospel”. The ashes come from the branches used in last year’s Palm Sunday ceremonies. These branches are burnt, and the ashes stored ready to use on Ash Wednesday.
These blessed ashes remind us that we belong to God and are preparing for Jesus’ death and resurrection. The ashes symbolise our need for repentance and renewal. The cross is a sign to remind us that just as Jesus gave of himself for others, we need to do the same.
Ash Wednesday is a chance to reflect on our lives, particularly our relationship with God. From this we can make resolutions about how we will spend the Lenten season: in prayerful reflection; learning more about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus; giving alms and fasting.
At Santa Maria College we commenced the day with a service in the Chapel for staff and our recently commissioned Year 12 Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. Ash Wednesday services were also held in each Homeroom led by the Homeroom teachers who were assisted by Year 12 students in the distribution of ashes.