Ash Wednesday invites us into almsgiving prayer and fast, the three
traditional Lenten practices that can draw us into a deeper relationship
with the Lord.
The prophet Joel proclaims the Lord’s invitation: “Return to me with
all your heart.” The prayer of the psalm is that the Lord will give us a
clean heart, a right and willing spirit. The Command of the Gospel is to
give alms, pray and fast in ways that only God can see, with the clear
promise stated three times: “Your Father who sees in secret will reward
you.” There are myriad ways to fulfill this command. Each of us can
find those activities that seem right for this specific moment in our life.
It is critical to keep in mind the impetus for these Lenten practices,
which is the Lord’s invitation to grow in right relationship with God. It
can be difficult in our complicated lives to set aside time for prayer, and
yet prayer is the essential element that guides and sanctifies our fasting
and our almsgiving. There is a wonderful variety of ways to pray, and
the weeks of Lent are a good time to explore a new practice or to renew
an old familiar one.
The Lord’s invitation is extended to each one of us. Today is the day to
Wish you all a gracefilled Season of Lent.

Entrance Antiphon
You are merciful to all, O Lord,
And despise nothing that you have made.
You overlook people’s sins, to bring them to repentance,
and you spare them, for you are the Lord Our God.
Presider: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy
All: Amen
Peace be with you.
All: And with your Spirit.
Opening Prayer: Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting
this campaign of Christian service, so that, as we take up battle against
spiritual evils, we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. Amen.
Blessing and Distribution of Ashes
Dear Children, brothers and sisters, let us humbly ask God Our Father
that he be pleased to bless with the abundance of his grace these ashes
which we will put on our heads in penitence. (After a brief prayer in
silence, and, with hands extended, priest continues).
O God, who are moved by acts of humility and respond with
forgiveness to works of penance, lend your merciful ear to our prayers

and in your kindness pour out the grace of your blessing on your
servants who are marked with these ashes, that, as they follow the
Lenten observances, they may be worthy to come with minds made pure
to celebrate the Paschal Mystery of Your Son. Through Christ our
Lord, Amen.
Presider: Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
Presider: Let us correct our faults which we have committed in
ignorance, let us not be taken unawares by the day of our death, looking
in vain for leisure to repent.
All: Hear us, O Lord, and show us your mercy for we have sinned
against you.
Help us, O God our savior, for the sake of your name, O Lord, set us
All: Hear us, O Lord, and show us your mercy for we have sinned
against you.
Prayers of the Faithful:
For the Church, proclaiming renewal in the ashes both distributed and
received. We pray to the Lord.
Lord hear our prayer.
For Leaders in the world community called to creative active towards
life beyond the ashes of violence and war, we pray to the Lord.
Lord hear our prayer.

For all who taste dust and ashes in their own personal experience, We
pray to the Lord.
Lord hear our prayer
For the members of this assembly, accepting Lenten ashes as an
invitation to fullness of life, we pray to the Lord.
Lord hear our prayer.
Closing prayer and blessing.
Pour out a spirit of compunction, O God, on those who bow before your
majesty, and by your mercy may they merit the rewards you promise to
those who do penance. Through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen