Celebrate Ash Wednesday at Home.
Cardinal Nichols recently wrote: “My suggestion is this: celebrate Ash Wednesday at home, with your family, in the household or ‘support bubble’ of which you are a part.”
“Receiving ashes is an outward sign of an inner step, a movement of the heart towards our beloved Lord. This year I invite you to concentrate much more on this inner, spiritual movement than on its outward manifestation in the imposition of ashes.”
In a pastoral letter Cardinal Nichols suggested to mark the beginning of Lent in the home, by starting with a time of prayer:
“Bless each other by making the sign of the cross on each other’s forehead. Spend some time praying in a way that you know. But please, make this a prayer of your heart for God’s mercy upon this world struggling to cope with the terrible pandemic and the devastation it is bringing.”
Prayer of Blessing for Ash Wednesday
Father, on this Ash Wednesday, we seek your forgiveness and ask your help in living our faith.
For the times when we have failed to love.
Have mercy, Lord.
For the times when we have not noticed the needs of others. Have mercy, Lord.
For the times when we have refused to forgive. Have mercy, Lord.
Remember we are dust, and to dust we shall return. Help us repent, and believe in the Gospel.
(If you have ashes, you may say the following prayer.)
Bless us O Lord, and these ashes that are a sign of our repentance and make them a sign to the world of our desire to change, and to follow in the footsteps of Jesus your Son. Amen.