February 22: Ash Wednesday Marks the First Day of Lent

February 21, 2012

Lent will begin on February 22 this year, with Catholics around the world fasting and receiving ashes on their foreheads in the Sign of the Cross as a symbol of penance and conversion. In the Archdiocese of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl will celebrate an Ash Wednesday Mass:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012
12:10 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 per day. Catholics age 14 and over abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and every Friday during Lent. Easter will be observed this year on April 8.

The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 600,000 Catholics living in Washington, DC, and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

Brie Hall
Office of Communications
[email protected]