By Robert Turner, Staff Writer
Ash Wednesday is a spiritual time: a time for repentance. The Ash Wednesday liturgy is set for February 26, from 8:30 A.M. to 9:45 A.M. in the Verbum Dei High School gym.
Bishop Carlos Servilez, SJ will be the guest celebrant for the liturgy; he will be assisted by “Brother Fred” Giannelli, SJ, and the JEDIS of Campus Ministry. Ash Wednesday is a day where sins are reconciled and new life begins, leading to a rebirth of one’s faith.
“During church services, a cross is marked on the foreheads of worshipers to symbolize repentance,” said Giannelli. “Ash Wednesday is a significant day on the Christian calendar, denoting the beginning of the repentant period of Lent which precedes Easter.”
The ash marking on the forehead represents the submission of humankind to God, not in the sense of him demanding it, but it’s more of of a recognition of faith in Him. The ashes used on Ash Wednesday are sacred; they are blessed and placed on the foreheads of believers during mass. The Jesuit Educated Disciples in Service (JEDIS) will help with the distribution of ashes.
On Ash Wednesday meat is given up, according to the Catholic law of abstinence. Catholics “can not eat meat on Ash Wednesday, which marks 40 days before Easter and the beginning of Lent”( huff, 3).
“Giving up meat is a hard transition for me,” said senior Aaman Pinchem. “I don’t have energy and [the best] attitude during the 40-day period, but it’s worth it for the repentance and the sacrifice of God.”
Ash Wednesday is a time where we recognize the struggles Jesus went through. During Lent we are challenged to display gratitude and perform acts of faith everyday including prayer and alms-giving. Ash Wednesday at Verbum Dei is treated with the utmost respect as its focus is aligned with the Jesuit desire to develop men and women with and for others.