Students and staff received ashes on their foreheads to mark the start of Lent, and as an external symbol of repentance. We are grateful to Fr Michael for distributing ashes to those who wished to receive them, and well over 200 students, along with members of staff, did so.
Ash Wednesday is one of the most popular and important holy days in the liturgical calendar. It opens Lent, a season of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Taking place 40 days before Palm Sunday, it is chiefly observed by Catholics, although many other Christians observe it too.
The ashes symbolize the dust from which God made us. As Fr Michael applied the ashes to a student's forehead, he spoke 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. Students were able to see Fr Michael christen the ashes with Holy Water before before applying them to their foreheads. 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.