Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent.
This is the primary penitential season in the Catholic Church.
And when I say that, I’m sure everyone is like, “Yippee! Penance!”
No one really likes self-denial and suffering. Although, can you really call giving up chocolate for 40 days (not including Sundays) suffering?
Giving up things you love or working on bad habits may not seem appealing. However, a lot of people must realize they’re in a spiritual deficit and need help because Ash Wednesday Masses are always packed! And it’s not even a holy day of obligation! I never see crowds packing the church for the Feast of the Assumption.
Ash Wednesday has a special way of drawing together the essential themes of Lent and delivering them in a highly charged, visual, and sensory way. Deep down, we all know we’re not completely together, no matter what we public face we project. We screw things up and make a mess. We need help with life and can’t do it alone.
Whether they turn to God for that help most of the year is doubtful. However, on this one day, Ash Wednesday, the majority of Catholics (and non-Catholics) recognize God’s forgiveness and grace to get by.
Ash Wednesday Mass times are 7:00 a.m., 8:30 a.m. 12:10 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Please note that Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation, therefore there is no Vigil Mass.
Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting and abstinence for Catholics as well. When fasting you can eat one full meal and two smaller meals that don’t equal a full meal. Fasting is obligatory from age 18 until age 59. Abstinence means eating no meat and is obligatory from age 14 onwards.
There will be a collection taken up at these Ash Wednesday Masses in aid to Eastern Europe Churches.