Ash Wednesday-March 1-Marks Beginning of Lent

February 17, 2006

Wednesday, March 1 marks Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Catholics will fast this day and receive ashes on their foreheads in the sign of the cross as a symbol of penance and conversion.

Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington, will celebrate Mass and distribute ashes at Mass on Ash Wednesday:

Wednesday, March 1, 2006
12:05 p.m.
Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle
1725 Rhode Island Avenue, NW, Washington, DC

Lent is the 40-day penitential period before Easter and the celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead. The imposition of ashes is an ancient practice found in the Old Testament. Once a public sign of an individual’s repentance, it became part of the Church’s Lenten preparations by the seventh century. On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (the Friday before Easter), Catholics between 18 and 59 years old observe a modified fast (guidelines allow one full meal). Catholics age 14 and over abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and every Friday during Lent.

This year, Easter will be observed on April 16.

Susan Gibbs
Director of Communications
[email protected]