Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need, which all Christians continually have, to renew their repentance and faith.
I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word. And, to make a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now kneel before the Lord, our maker and redeemer.
During the Ash Wednesday Liturgy, the celebrant addresses the congregation with this admonition. Next week we will come together for Ash Wednesday services (March 1) and begin our Lenten journey. We do so together to remind ourselves that we are one Body – the Body of Christ – the Church.
There are Lenten materials in the Narthex of church and you are invited to pick something up you believe will aid you in this forty day pilgrimage.
Join your brothers and sisters in Christ in receiving the imposition of ashes and begin the season of Lent in a proper and faithful way.
This is one of our ancient traditions that invite us into a deeper faith and greater expression of that faith.
Let us all take Ash Wednesday, Lent, and Holy Week more seriously this year than we have before.
It will turn the Easter joy into something beyond our expectations.