Reminder: This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday

Just a reminder that this Wednesday, February 14, is Ash Wednesday and, thus, the first day of Lent. It is also a day of fasting and abstinence from meat.

Across the Diocese of Lansing, Holy Mass including the distribution of ashes will be readily available in nearly all parishes. At Saint Mary Cathedral in Lansing this will occur at 8am, 12.05pm and 5.15pm. All are very welcome. For Mass times elsewhere go to:

What is Lent? Well, according to the Gospels of Saint Matthew, Saint Mark and Saint Luke, Jesus Christ spent 40 days fasting in the desert, where he endured temptation by Satan. Lent originated as a mirroring of this: Praying, fasting and giving alms in preparation for the great Solemnity of Easter Sunday.

“Fasting is the soul of prayer, mercy is the lifeblood of fasting. Let no one try to separate them; they cannot be separated. If you have only one of them or not all together, you have nothing,” wrote Saint Peter Chrysologus in the 5th Century, “Prayer knocks at the door, fasting obtains, mercy receives.”

Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of blessing ashes made from palm branches blessed on the previous year's Palm Sunday, and placing them on the heads of penitents to the accompaniment of the words “Repent, and believe in the Gospel” or “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”