Today the whole school came together to celebrate Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is one of the most popular and important holy days in the liturgical calendar and signifies the beginning of Lent - a season of fasting and prayer.
Ash Wednesday takes place 46 days before Easter Sunday, and is chiefly observed by Catholics, although many other Christians observe it too.
Ash Wednesday comes from the ancient Jewish tradition of penance and fasting. The practice includes the wearing of ashes on the head. The ashes symbolize the dust from which God made us. As the priest applies the ashes to a person's forehead, he speaks the words: "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return."
Alternatively, the priest may speak the words, "Repent and believe in the Gospel," which were the words used today.
Ashes also symbolize grief, in this case, grief that we have sinned and caused division from God. Writings from the Second-century Church refer to the wearing of ashes as a sign of penance. Priests administer ashes during Mass and all are invited to accept the ashes as a visible symbol of penance. Even non-Christians and the excommunicated are welcome to receive the ashes. The ashes are made from blessed palm branches, taken from the previous year's palm Sunday Mass. If you would like to know more you can watch a short video here.
As part of our Ash Wednesday mass students delivered their Lenten promises to the altar. These serve as a reminder of the sacrifice Jesus made for us and are a small token of what we can offer to Jesus during this special time.
Altar display of Lenten promises from each class at St. Jerome's. That's ours on the far right :)
Also during mass today we commissioned our student councilors and student captains for semester one. We join in wishing them all the best for their duties this year and offering our support to them any way we can.
The commissioning of our student councilors and sports captains for semester one 2016.