Manila Archbishop Jose F. Cardinal Advincula celebrated Ash Wednesday Mass at the Arzobispado de Manila chapel in Intramuros on March 2, 2022, at 8:30 in the morning to mark the beginning of the Season of Lent.
“Today, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the blessed Season of Lent. We commence not only our forty-day preparation for Easter but also our journey back to the Father’s embrace, to our true selves, and to each other,” the Cardinal said in his homily.
“After a year of feeling lost and wading in self-love, we are given this opportune time to find our bearings and re-orient our life’s direction,” he added.
The Lenten Season, the Cardinal stressed in his homily is an opportunity for the faithful to spend more time in prayer, to do fasting and acts of charity in order to make space for the Lord.
“The Lenten disciplines of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving help us to deny and de-center from ourselves in order to re-focus and make space for God and neighbor once again,” Cardinal Advincula said.
“As we die to our sins, we can live for God. As we are freed from our self-pre-occupation, we are made free to serve others,” he added.
The celebration of the Ash Wednesday Mass is also the archdiocese’s response to the Holy Father’s call to be in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Ukraine and Russia who are experiencing war.
“The Holy Father has called us to offer our fasting today in particular for peace between Ukraine and Russia. Through our sacrifice, we are led to the desert where we can commune with God more intimately and intercede in solidarity for the needs of others,” he said.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. It is a day of universal fast and abstinence in the Church. Fasting is required from ages 18 to 60 while abstinence is from age 14.
The priest imposes the ash on the faithful’s forehead saying, “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” or “Remember that you are dust, and to dust, you shall return”. The ashes came from the palms that were blessed in the previous Palm Sunday which have been burned.
“Thus, our Lenten journey does not end in Christ’s love for us on the cross. Our Lenten journey can only properly begin with the remembrance of Christ’s love for us in a form of ash crosses on our foreheads.” The Cardinal said. (Jheng Prado | Photo by Rian Francis Salamat/RCAM-AOC | Photogallery)