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Ash Wednesday Ushers in Season of Lent

Pastoral Letter 
Ash Wednesday, March 5, 2014

 





The Season of Lent begins this year with Ash Wednesday on March 5, 2014.  In the Archdiocese of Manila, His Eminence Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle will celebrate an early morning Ash Wednesday Mass at the Arzobispado.



In a pastoral letter for Ash Wednesday, Cardinal Tagle said that the Season of Lent is “a pilgrimage of repentance, conversion and renewal for all of us. It enjoins everyone to a spiritual discipline of self-denial, abandoning sinful acts and habits, praying, fasting and living charitably. To live charitably means carrying the burdens of weakest and poorest among us, to be in solidarity with them.”   

He called on the faithful to begin on Ash Wednesday the spiritual journey by committing to the spiritual discipline of Lent in reliving the sufferings and death of Jesus and looking forward to His resurrection. He called on the people to remember in their prayers “our brothers and sisters who perished from the recent tragedies” and to continue to give help to those who lost their homes, livelihood and loved ones. He also asked support for the Fast2Feed Project of Hapag-Asa, an integrated feeding program which will raise funds this year to feed also the children in the Yolanda-affected areas and in Zamboanga, Bohol and Cebu.

Ash Wednesday is a day of universal fasting and abstinence in the Church. Fasting is required from ages 18 to 60, and abstinence is from age 14 (CIC 1252).
On this day, ashes are blessed and imposed after the homily during the Mass. These ashes came from the palms blessed in the previous Palm Sunday which have been burned. The priest, deacon or lay minister while imposing the ashes, says any of the following formulas:

Repent, and believe in the Gospel 

Or

Remember that you are dust, and to dust your shall return

The 40-day Season of Lent runs from Ash Wednesday until the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. During Lent the altars are not decorated with flowers and musical instruments may be played only to give necessary support to the singing. However, on the fourth Sunday of Lent (Laetere), musical instruments may be played and the altar decorated with flowers. In most Churches the religious images are covered with purple cloth.