FALL RIVER — Lent, the forty-day season of prayer, sacrifice, and almsgiving in preparation for the joyous celebration of Easter, begins on Ash Wednesday, March 2, 2022.
Parishes throughout the Fall River Diocese will mark the start of Lent with the traditional rite of distribution of ashes.
This year, Ash Wednesday also takes on additional meaning as Pope Francis has called for a day of prayer and fasting for peace in Ukraine.
“I invite everyone to make March 2, Ash Wednesday, a day of fasting for peace,” he said. “I encourage believers in a special way to devote themselves intensely to prayer and fasting on that day. May the Queen of Peace protect the world from the folly of war.”
The pope’s request came as he concluded his general audience in St. Peter’s in Rome on February 23 as the threat of war loomed.
Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., is encouraging Catholics throughout the Fall River Diocese to respond to the invitation of Pope Francis and to focus their prayers and sacrificial intentions on Ash Wednesday for the critical cause of peace in Ukraine.
On Ash Wednesday, ashes -symbolic of penance- are blessed and distributed as a reminder that Lent is a time for repentance and spiritual renewal. Ashes are used to mark on the forehead of the faithful the Sign of the Cross, with the reminder: “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel” or “Remember you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.”
Bishop da Cunha will celebrate the 12 noon Mass on Ash Wednesday at St. Mary’s Cathedral, 327 Second St., Fall River.
The Church calls for days of abstinence and fasting during Lent:
- Abstinence from meat on Ash Wednesday, all Fridays during Lent and Good Friday for those aged 14 and older;
- Fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday for those aged 18 through 59. Fasting is defined as eating only one full meatless meal. Two other meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to one’s needs.
Those who are not obliged to fast or abstain from meat are encouraged to join in those disciplines to the extent that they are able.
Catholics are urged to regard the Lenten season as a time to live with a greater focus on the Christian practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving as means for spiritual renewal.
Please refer to parish bulletins, websites and social media for a schedule of times of ash distribution on Ash Wednesday.
Read Bishop da Cunha’s Lenten Message
Read Bishop da Cunha’s February 23rd blog post, Preparing for Lent