Lent is the time, Pope Francis has said, “to proclaim that God alone is Lord, to drop the pretence of being self-sufficient and the need to put ourselves at the centre of things, to be the top of the class, to think that by our own abilities we can succeed in life and transform the world around us.”
Perth Ukrainian Parish Priest Fr Ihor Hovoloko has this week spoken of the deep sadness of his people and the horror which is being visited upon them and asked for continued prayers, not only for the end of the war, but for the restoration of peace.
Father Ihor joined Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB at St Mary‘s Cathedral for the Ash Wednesday Mass, on 2 March, marking the beginning of the season of Lent.
The effects of COVID-19 have caused an unconventional start of Lent as worshippers this year received ashes by having them sprinkled on the top of their head. In his Lenten Pastoral Letter for 2021, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB spoke about how this six-week period is an opportunity for the faithful to acknowledge sinfulness as a serious matter that can have destructive effects on others and on ourselves.
University of Notre Dame Australia Assistant Dean and Lecturer in Old Testament Dr Lawrence Pang writes that although Ash Wednesday is not mentioned in scripture, it has deep biblical roots and gives us the nourishment we need for spiritual growth.
The Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments note on the “distribution of ashes in time of pandemic” was published on 12 January and directs priests to say “the prayer for blessing the ashes” and then sprinkle “the ashes with holy water, without saying anything”.