Churches around the Diocese of Parramatta have marked the beginning of the Lenten season with Ash Wednesday Masses.
COVID-safe directives released by the Vatican meant that ashes were placed on the heads of the faithful, instead of the traditional mark on the forehead.
Assistant Priest Fr Chadi Ibrahim SDB celebrated the 12.30pm Mass at a capacity-St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta, with additional parishioners, office workers and other members of the faithful gathered in the Cloister.
In his homily, Fr Chadi explained the importance of charity during this season, recommending that those who are fasting, donate what they save to charitable works.
Across the Diocese, Assistant Priest Fr Marcus Hazelman from St Paul the Apostle Parish, Winston Hills, warned against “trumpeting” what we plan to give up during the Lenten season.
“In today’s Gospel, Jesus is telling us to be humble and [show] humility and to do the great deeds and good works that we are obliged to do in secret,” he said at the 9am Parish Mass.
“This Lenten season is to remind us that when we do good things, whatever good we are going to do, we have to do it in secret, because it’s not to attract praise from other people, but to do it for another person, let God see what you are doing and let the person receiving the good deed witness,” he said.
“Each of us have our own ways to life this Lenten season, so Jesus is encouraging us to do it in secret. Whatever we are going to do, whatever we are going to sacrifice, let it be a sacrifice to really help us in our daily life, in our spiritual life and help us to grow more in our faith.”
In his Lenten message, Pope Francis called on members of the faithful during Lent to “renew our faith, draw from the ‘living water’ of hope, and receive with open hearts the love of God, who makes us brothers and sisters in Christ.”
Ash Wednesday in our schools
Schools across the Diocese have also hosted liturgies to commemorate Ash Wednesday.
Fr Carlos Walker IVE and Fr Omar Mazzega IVE from Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Rouse Hill, were seen celebrating with the junior and senior students at Santa Sophia Catholic College, Box Hill.
On Facebook, Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta posted a video featuring students from Holy Family Primary School, East Granville, Delany College, Granville and Christ The King Primary School, North Rocks, explaining what Ash Wednesday means to them and what they’re giving up for Lent.
The Lenten season is a 40-day period of fasting, prayer, penance, and reflection, ending with the Easter Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
View images from the Ash Wednesday celebrations at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta, here or below.