Ash Wednesday is the day hundreds of students across the country face that inevitable question: what on earth is on your forehead? as the person goes to wipe it off with their finger. The black cross on the forehead is the ash of palm leaves that along with the phrase “Remember that you are dust and to dust, you shall return.” marks the beginning of Lent a time of fasting, prayer, and repentance. This phrase is said on Ash Wednesday all over the world on the same day as millions of Catholics receive ashes on their forehead to symbolize repentance. This is what sets it apart from any other all school mass at Providence Academy.
Maria Counts ‘22 recalls, “growing up, my friends and I would try to see who could keep their ashes on the longest, but that was before we truly understood the meaning behind this day. To us, it just marked the day we had to stop eating candy or chips”. Counts goes on to say now she understands that the beginning of Lent is the opportunity to grow closer to God and contemplate all He has done for us.
Blake Flynn, a member of the NET team said, “ I have never seen anything like it, it was new to me to look around during an Ash Wednesday mass and see kids, kids, and more kids, I am used to more of an older crowd during mass”.
To grow up together and grow in faith together is an incredible opportunity PA seeks to provide, especially during such important days of the liturgical year. Parents did not have to figure out a mass time so that everyone in the family participate in the distribution of ashes. Instead, children are able to enjoy a mass with friends and classmates, growing with them as we all begin the journey through Lent and continue on a journey deeper into our faith.