Ash Wednesday opens Lent. It is a season of penance, reflection, and fasting which prepares us for Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption, taking place 40 days before Easter Sunday. Ash Wednesday comes from the ancient Jewish tradition of penance and fasting, the practice including the wearing of ashes on the head. The ashes symbolize the dust from which God made us – as the priest applies the ashes to a person’s forehead, he speaks the words: “Repent and believe in the Gospel.”
The ashes are made from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year. These ashes are christened with Holy Water and are scented by exposure to incense. While the ashes symbolize penance and contrition, they are also a reminder that God is gracious and merciful to those who call on Him with repentant hearts. His Divine mercy is of utmost importance during the season of Lent, and the Church calls on us to seek that mercy during the entire Lenten season with reflection, prayer and penance.
This year, Ash Wednesday services took place in reverent and prayerful services in Oratory groups led by Oratory teachers and students. During the services, staff and students were asked to reflect on how they could be better people and become more familiar with Project Compassion and the work of Caritas Australia. This year the theme for Project Compassion is For All Future Generations, understanding that we can make a difference to the lives of ours by making an effort. This includes having the things all people need, such as food, water, medicine, education, choices and opportunities. It was also an opportunity to reflect and remind ourselves about the meaning of Ash Wednesday and the Lenten season.
I would like to congratulate the boys on their participation and the Oratory Leaders who, as always, lead the charge with the upmost respect for the occasion.
I encourage you to spend some time reading and reflecting on the prayer Caritas Australia has written for us this year:
You are our constant hope!
In the season of Lent, you call us to
prayer, fasting and love of those
As a community of faith and courage,
let our gifts to Project Compassion
be symbols of hope and solidarity
with our one human family.
Accompany us as we journey with Jesus
to bring ‘good news’ to all creation and
ready our hearts to work for the
common good of all your people.
We ask this in Jesus’ name.
Nadia Knight | Assistant Principal Faith and Mission