Wednesday 10th February 2016 – Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent
By Debra Reynolds
Wednesday, 10th February, 2016, is Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of Lent – the season of penance, fasting, reflection and prayer. On this day, ashes are applied to the foreheads of the faithful to symbolize the dust from which God made us. As the priest gives an individual his ashes, he speaks the words: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” In this way, our hearts are humbled and we reflect on the fact that we have sinned and thereby separated ourselves from God. It is particularly important of course to remember that the ashes are also a reminder that God is merciful to all who call on Him with repentant hearts.
Lent is often portrayed as a journey, from one point in time to another – from Ash Wednesday to the beginning of the period of time known as the Triduum in Holy Week. Lent as a journey however also presumes the movement from one state of being to another – a period of spiritual growth so that we are reconciled with God and prepared for Christ’s Resurrection at Easter, to begin a new and more fulfilling relationship with Him. Pope Francis has written that this “season of Lent during this Jubilee Year of Mercy should…be lived more intensely as a privileged moment to celebrate and experience God’s mercy.”
In Sòller, the faithful will gather at 6.30 p.m. at L’Esglèsia de l’Hospici on Carrer Hospici just off Sa Lluna. Following a series of prayers, we will process from the Church following a particular crucifix kept in that Church, the Image of the Blood. The group will process into the main square and into the Church of Sant Bartomeu, where the Ash Wednesday Mass will begin at 7.00 p.m. This will naturally include the distribution of ashes. All are most welcome to attend.
A very beautiful custom during Lent is praying the Stations of the Cross, which represent the particular events experienced by Christ as he walked to Calvary and allows us to contemplate the meaning of His Passion and death. Stations of the Cross in the Church of Sant Bartomeu in Sòller are prayed using a combination of prayer and song at 6.30 p.m. every Friday evening during Lent prior to the 7.00 p.m. Mass. Once again, all are most welcome to attend.
Debra Reynolds – Sòller’s Religious Affairs Correspondent