Lent is a 40-day fast — a reference to the time Jesus spent being tempted in the desert. It’s a time when we can prepare our hearts for the remembrance of Christ’s death. Our observance of Lent culminates in the solemn celebrations of Holy Week when on Palm Sunday we follow Christ from his triumphant entrance into Jerusalem to the foot of the Cross as sorrowful bystanders to His Passion, before rolling back the stone of the empty tomb and the joy of the Resurrection. The six-week period is dedicated to prayer, fasting, and almsgiving in preparation for this great celebration of Christ’s Paschal Mystery in the Easter Triduum.
Ash Wednesday is the doorway into this season of renewal. Though, due to social distancing and the need to limit contact to combat the spread of Covid-19, things are a little different in terms of our practice and observance this year. Cardinal Nichols has suggested a pattern of Prayer for Ash Wednesday that can be followed at home or in a ‘support bubble’.
With all our hearts we beseech you: have mercy on your people; spare your people;
strengthen all people in the struggle against the havoc of this pandemic.
Lord our God, without you we are so weak and our courage so limited.
Give us your strength; give us your love; give us wisdom and skill to continue this fight.
Spare your people, O Lord we pray.
Comfort those who mourn and gather into your kingdom all who have died.
We make this prayer through Christ our Lord, who died and rose to life,
who lives and reigns with you, for ever and ever.
Ash Wednesday, the doorway into our Lenten season of renewal, will be observed a little differently in 2021. Due to social distancing and the need to limit contact to combat the spread of Covid-19, some of our practice and observance this year will be in our homes.