Start Date: 14 February 2018
End Date: 14 February 2018
Place: 365 Burrows Ave.
The First Day of Lent.
In the Polish National Catholic Church, Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, the season of preparation for the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday.
Ash Wednesday always falls 46 days before Easter.
Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation, all Polish National Catholics are encouraged to attend Mass on this day in order to mark the beginning of the Lenten season.
During Mass, the ashes which give Ash Wednesday its name are distributed. The ashes are made by burning the blessed palms that were distributed the previous year on Palm Sunday; many churches ask their parishioners to return any palms that they took home so that they can be burned.
After the priest blesses the ashes and sprinkles them with holy water, the faithful come forward to receive them. The priest dips his right thumb in the ashes and, making the Sign of the Cross on each person’s forehead, says: “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return”.
The distribution of ashes reminds us of our own mortality and calls us to repentance. In the early Church, Ash Wednesday was the day on which those who had sinned, and who wished to be readmitted to the Church, would begin their public penance. The ashes that we receive are a reminder of our own sinfulness, and many Catholics leave them on their foreheads all day as a sign of humility.
The Church emphasizes the penitential nature of Ash Wednesday by calling us to fast and abstain from meat. Catholics who are over the age of 18 and under the age of 60 are required to fast, which means that they can eat only one complete meal and two smaller ones during the day, with no food in between. Catholics who are over the age of 14 are required to refrain from eating any meat, or any food made with meat, on Ash Wednesday.