Ash Wednesday falls on Feb. 13 this year, marking the start of the Lent for Roman Catholics and some Christians across the world.
Not a day of obligation, nevertheless Ash Wednesday is one of the most popular services of the year, drawing in faithful Catholics to have the sign of the cross marked upon their foreheads in ash.
Marking the first day of Lent, which is observed by the faithful as a time of preparing for the resurrection of Christ, its official title is the Day of Ashes.
Ash Wednesday falls 46 days before Easter Sunday, which is observed on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after March 21 (unless the full moon also falls on a Sunday, in which case it’s re-designated for following Sunday), according to the Catholic Online. While Easter can land sometime between March 22 and April 25, Ash Wednesday might occur as early as February 4 or as late as March 10.
How the ritual of the ashen cross began is unknown, remaining shrouded in mysterious history. However, references in both the Old and New Testaments connect the use of ash with fasting and the wearing of sackcloths, according to the St. Anthony Messenger a publication of American Catholic.Together, they are used as a way to please God, as signs of repentance or even as spiritual armor in the face of battle, such as when the Maccabees prepared to fight for Jewish independence in the Old Testament:
“That day they fasted and wore sackcloth, they sprinkled ashes on their heads and tore their clothes,” (1 Mc 3:47).
Here's where Ash Wednesday will be observed in Mount Vernon Wednesday:
Good Shepherd Catholic Church
Ash Wednesday Masses are scheduled as follows:
12:00pm (Service of the Word with Distribution of Ashes)
7:30pm (Mass, in Spanish)
8:45pm (Service of the Word with Distribution of Ashes, in Spanish)
St. Louis Catholic Church
Ash Wednesday Masses will take place at the following times:
6 p.m. Spanish Mass