Ash Wednesday

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Ash Wednesday

Kiren Grewal, Managing Editor

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Many of you may have heard of Ash Wednesday, but do you know what it is?

When asking students about Ash Wednesday, many replied with some variation of: “Oh, that’s the day we get ashes on our forehead during Mass.” What many Royals don’t know is that it is so much more.

Ash Wednesday is one of the most popular and well-known holy days on the Liturgical Calendar. It kicks off Lent — the time for prayer and fasting as we prepare for Easter. Although it is not technically a holy day of obligation, many Roman Catholics attend Mass this day. Additionally, Anglican, Lutheran, as well as some other Protestant churches recognize Ash Wednesday; however, because Eastern Rite Churches begin Lent on Monday, they do not observe this holy day. It always falls on a Wednesday; therefore, there can be no “Ash Monday” or “Ash Friday.”

Campus Ministers administering the ashes on the students. Photo by Mrs. Rosales

During the Ash Wednesday Mass, those who come forward receive ashes on their forehead; these ashes are in the shape of a cross and signify the dust from which God created us. The ashes are usually prepared by burning the palms from the previous Palm Sunday. Ash Wednesday Mass is usually of a solemn mood and a reflective nature; it is centered on confession and repentance.

When asked her thoughts on Ash Wednesday, Mrs. Ward said: “It makes you feel a sense of camaraderie when you’re walking about and see others with ashes on their forehead. It really emphasizes the feeling of community and belonging in Catholicism.”

During Wednesday’s Mass, Father Ian presided and gave a beautiful homily on what Ash Wednesday is truly about. He urged Royals to consider the acronym A.S.H during these forty days, and he said: “A stands for almsgiving, S stands for sacrifice, and H stands for  holiness.” Father Ian also said that the purpose of the ashes is to remember that “both beginning and end are with God.”

Hopefully now you know a bit more about this holy day and can go forward during Lent and prepare for the coming of Christ during Easter.

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