Wednesday 1st of March is the beginning of Lent.

This is a season of great grace, Pope Francis said in his Ash Wednesday Homily last year: ‘Lent is a privileged time for prayer’, and he quoted St. Augustine, who described fasting and almsgiving as “the two wings of prayer,” because they are signs of humility and charity.

Ash Wednesday comes from the ancient Jewish tradition of penance and fasting. The practice includes the wearing of ashes on the head. The ashes symbolize the dust from which God made us. As the priest applies the ashes to a person’s forehead, he speaks the words: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

On Ash Wednesday, we have many Masses available for people to come and mark the beginning of Lent. The 19.30 Solemn Mass will be celebrated by Bishop Alan Hopes, and sung by the Cathedral Choir; the music will include Allegri’s Miserere Mei.

See below for details of the Ash Wednesday Masses: