Ash Wednesday - Lent Jade Morrison

What are the origins of Ash Wednesday? (including what it is and what happens)

The ashes which are used on Ash Wednesday shown here burnt from a palm and place on a forehead.

This day was firstly a non-Christian origin but was accepted into the beliefs of the Catholic Church in 325AD. On Ash Wednesday palm ashes are placed upon people’s foreheads in the shape of the cross. After this there is 40 days of fasting and six Sundays are counted as feast days. Ash Wednesday takes place 46 days before Easter Sunday. The colour purple is also a significant symbol as it firstly represents, the anticipation of the pain and suffering of the crucifixion. But also, purple is the colour which associates with royalty and the celebrating of the resurrection. This is why the colour purple is seen with many things associated with Ash Wednesday and Lent.

What role does the symbol of ashes play in the Liturgy?

The ashes which are placed on people’s foreheads is a symbol of the dust that God had made us from. Not only does it represent the dust we are believed to be made from but also grief that we have sinned and penance. Placing the ashes on our foreheads is also a way to show that we are asking for our sins to be forgiven.

Representations of God's creation.

Lent: what it is and what happens during Lent?

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and finishes after 46 days on Holy Saturday. The forty days are believed to represent the days Jesus spent in the wilderness. During lent it is a time of repentance, fasting and the preparation for Easter. During this time people also reflect upon themselves, pray and focus on their relationship with God. People usually sacrifice something to give up for the 40 days, not just anything but something that they find it hard to live without.

Project Compassion is conducted world-wide. What is Project Compassion?

Project compassion is an annual fundraiser which also provides awareness to people which is organised by Caritas Australia. This campaign continues throughout the six weeks of lent every year which helps people in poverty get through some of their tough times. Each year many people show their support, love and compassion by donating as much money of their choosing which contributes to vital everyday needs such as food, clothing, water, shelter, medicines and seeds to grow their own crops. In 2016, over $11 million dollars were raised which helped many communities which can’t afford much.

Left: Project compassion's 2017 logo. Right: A man who has received project compassion's support.

How is Project Compassion experienced at Thomas More College?

Within Thomas More college, project compassion is experienced each year during lent. Small money boxes and poster are giving to each well being class room. The money box is passed round within the classroom and small donations are contributed when possible. The posters are displayed on the classroom walls to provide awareness to the students to what they are donating to. A talent week is also carried out during one week of lent. Students provide entertainment for teachers and other students within the college who then donate a gold coin for entree. Over this week, a large amount of money is made which is given to project compassion to help others in need.

Examples of the way Thomas More College contributes to project compassion.

Lent is the lead up to Easter. Why is Easter the most important time in the Catholic Church?

Easter is the most important time in the Catholic church because it was the time of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Jesus’ resurrection proved that those who trust in God and accept him will be raised from the dead for those that were believing in him. Easter is important to Christians because it was when Jesus lived up to their beliefs and expectations and he didn’t let them down. Easter is the representation of God’s promises being reached. This is why an egg is used as the shape of chocolate that we eat at Easter time because it represent new life as an example of Christ rising again.

Credits:

Created with images by angelajamene - "oak oak tree nature" • debowscyfoto - "in ash wednesday post" • Pezibear - "person human child"

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