‘ON ASH WEDNESDAY
Consider [secondly] the meaning of the ashes which are put on our heads this day with these words: “Remember you are dust and unto dust you shall return.” Sackcloth and ashes were the ancient habit of penitents. The Ninevites by fasting in sack-cloth and ashes found mercy. Let these ashes then, which we receive on our heads at the beginning of this penitential fast, be a lesson to us to enter upon it with the like penitential spirit. They are an emblem of contrition and humility; let us receive them with a contrite and humble heart. They are also a remembrance of our mortality, of our frail composition, and of our hasty return to our mother earth. O let us think well on this, and renounce henceforth our unhappy pride and presumption; O let us make good use of this time, and prepare for the moment which shall ere long send away our souls into another region, and turn our bodies into dirt and dust.’
Bishop Richard Challoner (1691-1781) Meditations for every Day of the Year (1753)
Even without the opportunity to receive ashes this year let us not forget that Ash-Wednesday is the entry into the Lenten fast and time of renewal and preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ Passion, Death and Resurrection. It can also be the time of renewal for that time when our churches will be freely open again for the celebration of the sacraments and the ecclesial (gathering of the summoned) community. In the meantime there is plenty for us to do in our families and homes: the reading of the Scriptures, the sharing in prayer, reflecting on how we shall help make the community healthy and lively again in its praise and service.
There are many Lenten resources for all ages on the Bishops’ website, https://www.cbcew.org.uk/home/events/lent-2021/resources-for-lent-2021/
and the God Who Speaks website: https://www.godwhospeaks.uk/
Additionally there are two surveys you might care to complete which will help the bishops and planners prepare too for that time which will come when another new chapter opens in the life of the Church in these countries.
Catholic Voices: https://www.catholicvoices.org.uk/survey
I have dedicated this year’s Lenten Alms to the SVP Covid-19 Recovery Programme. Information on this programme can be found at https://www.svp.org.uk/covid-19-recovery-programme
Parishioners are encouraged to donate through your parish / the Diocese. However, if you make a donation direct in order that Gift Aid might also be claimed please identify it as coming from Wrexham Diocese.
The SVP is a Registered Charity Number 1053992
With every good wish and prayers for a blessed Lent,
The Rt. Rev’d Peter M. Brignall
Bishop of Wrexham