Hundreds came to St. John Cantius parish to begin the penitential season of Lent. This is a privileged season of grace for the entire Church. It begins the annual solemn preparation for the Easter Mystery which is the culmination of the Church Year.
The liturgical use of ashes originated in the Old Testament times. Ashes symbolized mourning, mortality and penance. In the Book of Esther, Mordecai put on sackcloth and ashes when he heard of the decree of King Ahasuerus to kill all of the Jewish people in the Persian Empire (Esther 4:1). Job repented in sackcloth and ashes (Job 42:6). Prophesying the Babylonian captivity of Jerusalem, Daniel wrote, “I turned to the Lord God, pleading in earnest prayer, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes” (Daniel 9:3).
This Ash Wednesday, as we experience the blessed ashes, we acknowledge that the ashes are an outward sign of our mortality and our total dependence on God. May this sacramental give us the grace of a true conversion of heart and lead us into a fruitful Lent.