Ash Wednesday

The start of our lenten journey

Lenten regulations

All Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence from meat for Catholics over 14.

Ash Wednesday & Good Friday are days of fasting & abstinence for Catholics between the ages of 18-59. Fasting means taking only one full meal & two smaller meals that, taken together, do not equal one full meal.

Throughout Lent, Catholics are especially encouraged to perform voluntary acts of penance.

Different look this year

Ash Wednesday will have a different look this year at many Catholic parishes across the United States. Many dioceses — including the Diocese of Rochester — will follow a modified method for distributing ashes, as recommended by the Vatican. Rather than using ashes to make a cross on the forehead, ashes will instead be sprinkled on top of the head.

In this video from Catholic News Service, schoolchildren learn about the penitential season of Lent as they prepare palms to be burned to create the ashes used in Ash Wednesday liturgies.

Learning from the Saints

Each Lent, a Catholic News Service columnist explores the lives of a few contemporary and older saints. In his column, he discusses the life of Blessed Stanley Rother, a priest from Oklahoma who ministered in Guatemala and in 1981 became the first American citizen to be martyred.

According to one Catholic News Service columnist, Lent 2020 “felt as if it never ended.” This year, she writes, “I need a guide; someone to journey with through this Lent.” She has decided to make the Lenten journey with St. Clare of Assisi, who at age 18 heard St. Francis of Assisi preach at a Lenten service and decided to give up everything and enter a convent.