Date Posted: Saturday 19 February 2011
The English word “Lent” derives from the Anglo-Saxon word for “spring”, which coincides with the time of forty days leading up to Easter. It thus calls to mind the new life, growth, hope and change that characterises this time of prayer, penance and conversion. This year Lent begins on Wednesday 9 March.
The first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday, takes its name from the ashes which are placed on our foreheads during the liturgy on that day. This ceremony symoblises our conversion, penance and human mortality. The ashes are made from palms blessed on the previous Palm Sunday.
There are three Masses on Ash Wednesday - two said Masses at 8am and 12.20pm, and sung High Mass at 7.30pm. Music at High Mass includes the haunting setting of psalm 51, the Miserere mei, Deus, written for the Sistine Chapel and attributed to the 17th century musician Gregorio Allegri, which is sung during the Giving of Ashes.
On the following Sunday, 13 March, High Mass at 10.30am begins with the singing of the Great Litany in Procession, during which we ask for God’s blessing on the world and all its creatures.
Further details of seasonal activities for Lent will appear shortly.