To the Salesian College Family,
On Wednesday this week, the students and staff of Salesian College participated in Ash Wednesday liturgies in which they received Ashes on their foreheads to formally begin the Church’s season of Lent. Staff members received the ashes in a special service of blessing in the Chapel before classes commenced; the Year 7s had their own Liturgy of the Ashes during Period 1 in the Chapel; the Year 9s were given their ashes at Mannix Campus; and the students of Years 8, 10, 11 and 12 took part in services in their own Oratory groups.
During the Ash Wednesday services, all students and staff were reminded that the ashes were a symbol of their human mortality, limitations, weaknesses and sinfulness. However, they also came to realise that they were also a grace-filled opportunity for the mercy, compassion and love of God to shine through in their beings and transform their lives afresh. In this respect, Ash Wednesday officially ushers in the wonderful Season of Lent which provides us all with an excellent chance to improve ourselves through some reflection, renewal and soul-searching, and to reach out to others in genuine need through prayer, fasting and self-sacrifice.
In particular, during Lent we are strongly encouraged to ‘get on the front foot’ and ‘go further together’ through acts of alms-giving, good deeds, charitable service and practical kindness to those who are crying out for support and assistance. Such practical help can be carried out on an individual basis at a local level, or through such agencies as Caritas Australia (‘Project Compassion’), the St Vincent de Paul Society (‘Vinnies’) or Salesian Missions Australia.
Finally, I wish you all a fruitful and fulfilling Lent and now provide you with a very helpful reflection to assist you in your positive endeavours between now and Easter:
‘Fast from negative things – and feast on the positive ones.
Fast from discontent – and feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger – and feast on patience.
Fast from selfishness – and feast on generosity.
Fast from complaining – and feast on appreciation.
Fast from bitterness – and feast on forgiveness.
Fast from discouragement and despair – and feast on hope.
Fast from self-pity and anxiety – and feast on compassion for others.
Fast from what is depressing – and feast on what is uplifting.
Fast from hostility and aggression – and feast on tolerance and harmony.
Fast from idle gossip – and feast on relaxing silence.
Fast from problems and noise – and feast on contemplative prayer.
Fast from television and internet – and feast on quality time with family.
Fast from what is material and passing – and feast on what is divine and eternal.’
In the Lord,
Fr Greg Chambers