Published: Wed, February 14, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Darrell Mcdonald

Ash Wednesday obligations must be prioritized over Valentine's Day, says bishop

Ash Wednesday obligations must be prioritized over Valentine's Day, says bishop

During Lent, many Christians commit to fasting, as well as giving up certain luxuries in order to replicate the sacrifice of Jesus Christ's journey into the desert for 40 days.

Boxes of chocolates and flowers are reportedly among the most common gifts exchanged besides the billion cards. "Ash Wednesday is very particular".

"In view of the significance of Ash Wednesday, the obligations of fast and abstinence are naturally the priority in the Catholic community", the diocese said.

The ashes are made from palm branches blessed on the previous year's Palm Sunday. This ceremony involves phrases such as "Repent and believe the Gospel", or "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust", or "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return".

In a recent writing, May said he offered a suggestion for how congregations and people can mark the two holidays together.

However, ashes were used before this in demonstrations of repentance for sins.

This is the first time the church has held "Ash and Dash".

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"Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten season, which is a solemn time of prayer and penance for the Catholic Church", Malone explains in the video. The church's pastors have set up a drive-thru location in a parking lot at 14380 Manchester Road. However, this year, we have so far not received any reservations which would usually get full by this time.

So, many will be confused either to celebrate Valentine's Day or Ash Wednesday - two completely contrasting occasions, one associated with feasting and the other with fasting. Pancakes are often eaten as a way to dispose of any rich foods such as milk, sugar and eggs before the 40 days of fasting that occur during Lent. This day is marked by a mandatory mid-afternoon service when a priest/pastor/minister marks your forehead with an ashen cross, and henceforth everyone you meet must make some remark about the smudge on your face.

More than a change in habits, Lent calls Christians to a radical and lasting turning of hearts - a conversion.

Vintage illustration of a blond-haired Jesus Christ with the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene; screen print, 1915.

Our usual practice at St. Alban's is to have a Lenten Study during the season of Lent, and this year is no exception.

Many Easter traditions and customs are observed by Christians throughout the world. The 40 days of Lent isn't just another self-improvement program, it is an intentional spiritual discipline that is meant to draw you closer to God.

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