Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent in the Western Christian calendar. It occurs exactly 46 days before Easter (40 fasting days not counting Sundays). It is a moveable fast that can fall as early as February 4 and as late as March 10.
Ash Wednesday is named after the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of faithful as a reminder of human mortality and as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. Ash Wednesday is observed by most Christians, including Catholics, Anglicans, many Lutherans and Methodists. The Anglican Book of Common Prayer designates Ash Wednesday as a day of fasting. In the Catholic Church, Ash Wednesday is also observed by fasting, abstinence from meat.
The custom of sprinkling ashes as a sign of mourning and repentance, celebrated on Ash Wednesday, is known in many cultures and traditions, including in ancient Egypt, Arabs and Greece. In the liturgy, it appeared in the eighth century — the first testimony of the practice comes from the tenth century. In 1091, Pope Urban II launched the custom as binding the whole Church.
Join us at 9:30 a.m. to receive the sign of the cross in ashes and to celebrate Holy Communion.